Collector- June 2018 - 20
Your Input Will
If you have been affected by
robocall blocking or labeling
tools, please take a moment to
share your experience with ACA
and consumers to similar harms. Call
labeling services use algorithms to provide
consumers with information about a call so
they can decide whether or not to answer.
For instance, Verizon recently rolled out
a free integrated tool for landline phone
customers called Spam Alert, which shows
"SPAM?" before a caller's name on the caller
ID display if the number matches Verizon's
spam criteria. Verizon also has a caller ID
app with a Robocall Protection feature that
warns wireless customers when incoming
calls are likely spam, fraud or a robocall.
In comments to the FCC in January
2018, ACA wrote: "Like call blocking, while
this is a laudable goal that can help protect
consumers from bad actors, there is currently
no regulatory framework for legitimate call
originators to know how their calls are being
labeled, nor how to correct any errors in the
event they somehow discover an improper
label has been used, such as tagging a
legitimate business call as 'scam likely.'"
Additionally, even calls that are properly
labeled as being from debt collectors could
expose companies to Fair Debt Collection
Practices Act disclosure violations.
HOW DOES THIS AFFECT
It's difficult to precisely gauge how
blocking and labeling are affecting debt
collectors as there is no easy way for a
company to check. Right now, blocked
calls are just blocked, with no external
feedback provided to the caller. Instead,
debt collectors find out about it if
consumers tell them or if they run test
calls on personal cell phones.
For the last year, ACA has been
conducting an ongoing survey of its
members who have discovered their calls
are being blocked or mislabeled. One ACA
member told us: "Consumers advised us that
they saw it on their phone and suspected
that we were a scam. They would refuse to
verify their information so we could discuss
ACA also asked members to describe
any efforts to rectify discovered issues.
Unfortunately, without clear mitigation
options, there have only been short-term
workaround attempts and direct outreach
efforts have not yielded much success.
ACA members have reported replacing
numbers after finding out they have been
mislabeled-obviously not a long-term
solution-and even reaching out to the
carriers to ask for help, only to get referred
an ineffective support desk.
Call blocking and mislabeling have
had significantly negative affects on
ACA member companies, hindering
communication and constructive dialogue
due to first having to justify to consumers
that they are a legitimate business despite a
"scam likely" label.
ACA members have reported:
* "We have seen a loss of contacts along
with skepticism from consumers when
we do make contact."
* "This has had a considerable impact on
our ability to establish trust with the
consumers so we can assist them with
* "We believe it has had a definite impact.
Since we are unable to get calls through,
the consumers may be placed at a
disadvantage through no intent of their
* "This severely impacts our business.
Not many people will answer the phone
after the word 'scam' pops-up."