Collector - September 2020 - 40

COMPLIANCE

State Laws Related to Caller ID Blocking
If you're using caller ID blocking, you should be aware of potential compliance concerns that may
arise under relevant state laws and the federal Truth in Caller ID Act.
By Colin Winkler

I

n the August issue of Collector magazine,
we addressed potential compliance
concerns under the Fair Debt Collection
Practices Act as it applies to the practice of
caller ID blocking, which many of us refer
to by the touch-tone shorthand *67.
This month, we'll take a look at caller ID
blocking concerns under the federal Truth
in Caller ID Act, including its implementing
regulations, as well as state laws that regulate
the use of caller ID blocking.

FEDERAL TRUTH IN CALLER
ID ACT
As a general matter, the federal Truth in
Caller ID Act and related regulations will
not prohibit legitimate debt collection
callers from blocking caller ID.
The act itself prohibits direct or indirect
manipulation of caller ID information
when done "with the intent to defraud,
cause harm, or wrongfully obtain anything
of value," which leaves it plainly applicable

40

to criminal scams and probably to
telemarketing hustles, but generally not to
legitimate collection calls.
For its part, the Federal
Communications Commission's Truth in
Caller ID rule provides that any "person
or entity [except for telemarketers]
that blocks or seeks to block a caller
identification service from transmitting
or displaying that person or entity's
own caller identification information
pursuant to ยง 64.1601(b) of this part shall
not be liable for violating the [caller ID
manipulation] prohibition in paragraph
(a) of this section." (Emphasis added.)
Accordingly, the FCC has expressly
exempted caller ID blocking from
enforcement under the act for everyone
except telemarketers.
Likewise, the caller ID blocking provisions
associated with the Telephone Consumer
Protection Act do not reach debt collectors,
only telemarketers.

STATE LAWS
Many states have consumer protection
laws that function as mini-Truth in Caller
ID acts. For the most part, as with federal
laws, these state consumer protection laws
apply to telemarketers and are silent on
the use of caller ID blocking. A handful
of these laws expressly permit caller ID
blocking, for example: Florida, Indiana,
Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi,
Oklahoma and Tennessee.
But at least one state consumer protection
law expressly prohibits the use of caller ID
blocking and merits further examination, as
discussed below, along with two other states
with caller ID laws.

WASHINGTON STATE
Under the Revised Code of Washington, no
individual or entity licensed under R.C.W.
Chapter 19.16 ("Collection Agencies") may
"[i]ntentionally block its number from
displaying on a debtor's telephone."

ACAINTERNATIONAL.ORG


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