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Report: Telecoms Slow to Install Mandated Robocall-Blocking Tech

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Wednesday, September 22, 2021   

PHOENIX - They are irritating, they are unwanted - and now, robocalls are illegal. Consumer watchdog groups hope a looming deadline will finally force U.S. phone companies to take stopping robocalls seriously.

A new report from the Arizona Public Interest Research Group Education Fund found that only one-third of the largest mobile and home phone-service providers nationwide have installed the technology available to block unwanted marketing calls, which can arrive dozens of times a day.

Arizona PIRG executive director Diane Brown said the calls are not only frustrating - but can also be costly.

"In addition to being annoying," she said, "illegal robocalls cost Americans $3 billion annually in wasted time, and another $10 billion annually in fraud."

Brown said starting in June, all U.S.-based phone companies were required to install software that blocks so-called "spoof" calls, when the caller ID doesn't identify the actual caller. The report said many phone-service providers are dragging their feet.

However, Brown said another deadline is on the calendar this month - and it's aimed squarely at forcing the telemarketers perpetrating the scams to clean up their act.

"On Sept. 28, phone providers are required to block calls from companies that haven't at least reported their status to the Federal Communications Commission," she said.

Of the 3,000 telecommunications providers regulated by the FCC, the study found only 17% have completely implemented anti-robocall technology. Around 27% have partially applied it, and 56% said they're developing proprietary software to block illegal calls. Brown said if you are still receiving them, you can report calls directly to the FCC.

"If a consumer receives a robocall," she said, "they can register their phone number, and also issue a report at www.donotcall.gov."

The full report is online at ArizonaPIRGEdFund.org.

Disclosure: Arizona PIRG Education Fund contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Consumer Issues, Energy Policy, Urban Planning/Transportation. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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