comment letter

Joint Trades Letter to FCC re Declaratory Ruling, Advanced Methods to Target and Eliminate Unlawful Robocalls


The Honorable Ajit Pai


Federal Communications Commission

445 12th Street, SW

Washington, DC  20554


Re:      Declaratory Ruling, Advanced Methods to Target and Eliminate Unlawful Robocalls, CG Docket No. 17-59, WC Docket No. 17-97 (draft released May 16, 2019)


Dear Chairman Pai:

We the undersigned represent health care provider, pharmacies, grocers, retailers, banks, credit unions, and other financial services providers. We fully support the Commission’s goal to eliminate illegal automated calls. However, we are deeply concerned that the draft Declaratory Ruling released on May 16, 2019, if adopted as drafted, would result in the erroneous blocking of lawful calls — including urgent calls affecting consumer health, safety, and financial well-being. Public safety alerts, fraud alerts, data security breach notifications, product recall notices, healthcare and prescription reminders, and power outage updates all could be inadvertently blocked under the draft Declaratory Order, among other time-sensitive calls. Therefore, we urge the Commission to seek public comment on the draft Declaratory Ruling to avoid such unintended consequences.

The blocking of such beneficial calls would harm consumers and be contrary to the public interest. It also would frustrate the purpose of requirements from other federal agencies and would be inconsistent with Congress’ longstanding intent that the Commission facilitate efforts to block only illegal calls and not lawful calls from legitimate business. When Congress passed the Telephone Consumer Protection Act in 1991, Congress stated that it did not intend for the law to “be a barrier to the normal, expected or desired communications between businesses and their customers.” As recently as last week, the Senate passed the TRACED Act, the Commerce Committee report for which directs the Commission not to “support blocking or mislabeling calls from legitimate businesses” and instructs that the “FCC should require voice service providers to unblock improperly blocked calls in as timely and efficient a manner as reasonable.”

We urge the Commission to seek comment on the provisions in the draft Declaratory Ruling prior to finalizing that Ruling. This approach would invite public comment on approaches that the Commission can take to address illegal automated calls while minimizing the risk that consumers will miss important, often time-sensitive calls affecting their health, safety, or financial well-being.




American Bankers Association

ACA International

American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management

American Financial Services Association

Consumer Bankers Association

Credit Union National Association

Independent Community Bankers of America

Mortgage Bankers Association

National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions

National Retail Federation

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