Rep. Jan Schakowsky: Are you on the Do Not Call Registry?

CHICAGO–(ENEWSPF)–September 18, 2015.  Many of us are distrubed by telemarketers, but as you may know there is a way to stop getting these calls — the Do Not Call Registry.This week I gave a speech on the registry. Please see my speech below:

“Hi, I’m Congresswoman Schakowsky, the Ranking Member of the Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade Subcommittee – which has jurisdiction over consumer protection issues, including the implementation and enforcement of the Do Not Call Registry. 

I’d like to thank Chairman Wheeler and his staff at the FCC for hosting today’s event on Robocalls and Caller ID Spoofing.  I’d also like to thank all of you for being here to share your ideas about how the FCC and telecommunications providers can more effectively address these issues.

Every month, I hear from constituents who are on the Do Not Call list but feel that it is increasingly ineffective.  One of my constituents summed up his frustration pretty succinctly:  “For several years it seemed the Do Not Call list worked great.  Not so much anymore.”

They blame incoming callers for violating Do Not Call and for misleading Caller ID information.   A recent letter complained that many incoming calls “display false or vague Caller IDs to avoid detection.”

They know that the FCC and FTC face a difficult task in protecting Americans against unwanted calls and holding bad actors accountable, but they are very frustrated with the ineffective federal response.  One constituent said “my wife and I are registered on the national Do Not Call List but we are still getting a daily barrage of unsolicited phone calls.”  Another said “I filed 30-plus complaints at donotcall.gov before contacting you.  As far as I could see, it had no effect.”

Unwanted calls range from simple nuisances to potential fraud.  One recent letter said “I am constantly interrupted on business and personal calls.”  Another, from a senior citizen, said, “I have been the target of repeated attempts to sell a fully prepaid senior alert system.  I believe this is an attempt to defraud seniors, and the FCC and FTC have done nothing to stop it despite my consistent reporting of these calls.”

The FCC has a tough job: to better restrict nuisance calls and to enhance the enforcement of Do Not Call against violators.  Fortunately, the people in this room today are some of the most capable of finding solutions to these problems – and you are already making progress. 

The FTC’s “Robocall Challenge” offered a $50,000 reward for technology to strengthen robocall blocking.  Many of the technologies presented in response are being further developed to help achieve that goal.

The private sector is also working on solutions.  Many telecommunications carriers are allowing consumers to list numbers that should be blocked – eliminating the opportunity for bad actors to violate the Do Not Call List.  I urge all of the phone companies here today to offer that protection to your customers free of charge.

On the enforcement side, telecommunications providers already track the source and the number of incoming calls.  Improving the sharing of that information with the FCC and FTC – at the request of customers who have been harassed with unwanted calls – could help hold more bad actors accountable. 

I know that in order to implement these and other changes, the FCC must be adequately funded.  Unfortunately, this year’s House Financial Services – General Government Appropriations bill would cut the FCC Budget by $25 million – or more than 7 percent from last year.  I will continue to speak out against reckless budget cuts and in support of a well-funded FCC that can succeed in protecting consumers against unwanted calls.

Again, thank you for being here today, and for your commitment to addressing these challenges.  I am optimistic that the Do Not Call Registry’s best days are ahead of it.”

Source: www.schakowsky.house.gov