Sen. Menendez Fights to Stop Robocalls, Ringless Voicemails

Jun 21, 2017

U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and nine Senate colleagues wrote Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai last week to urge him to protect consumers from robocalls – unsolicited calls with pre-recorded messages – and ringless messages, which appear in a voicemail box without the phone actually ringing. The letter to Pai deems these calls “unwanted, invasive, and abusive.”

According to Menendez’s press secretary, Steven Sandberg, in April the FCC “issued a public notice seeking comments on a petition to exempt ringless voicemails from consumer protections established by the 1991 Telephone Consumer Protection Act. If the petition is granted, telemarketers, debt collectors, and other callers could flood Americans’ voicemail boxes without first receiving express consumer consent.

“In addition, the National ‘Do Not Call Registry’ protections may not apply, and ringless callers would have no limits on the quantity or duration of the voice messages that they are permitted to leave.”

As the senators stated in their letter to Pai, “Whether by robocall, by robotext, or by ringless voicemail, consumers should have meaningful control over who can and cannot contact their mobile device.”

In addition to Menendez, the letter to Pai was signed by Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Jeffrey A. Merkley (D-Ore.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.).

A copy of the letter can be found at markey.senate.gov. —J.K.-H.

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