Robocalls compromise privacy and public safety, undermine the federal Lifeline telecommunications program by using up low-income consumers' limited minutes, and subject vulnerable consumers to harassing and intrusive telemarketing and debt collection tactics. NCLC works to defend and strengthen consumer laws, particularly the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), to protect consumers from abusive and illegal practices.
State-by-State Robocall Data (2017)
The problem is worse than it seems. Hover over your state on the map below to see just how many robocalls were made to your friends and neighbors last year (total appears below the map). Many of these calls were made illegally, to cell phones without consent.
Source: YouMail, Robocall Index (2017)
The Federal Communications Commission has taken aim at scam and spoofed (disguised number) calls but receives frequent requests for exemptions from consumer protection laws from some of the largest banks, telemarketers, and debt collectors. Data shows that large banks and credit card companies consistently rank among the top sources of robocalls. Legitimate businesses making illegal calls to cell phones without consent has led to 2017 being the worst year on record for robocalls.
Take Action! Have you or a loved one been harassed by a bank or debt collector with robocalls to your cell phone? Help #EndRobocalls.
Policy Briefs, Reports & Press Releases
- Press Release: NCLC Attorney Margot Saunders Testifies at U.S. Senate Hearing on Stopping Abusive Robocalls; Urges FCC to Strengthen Key Federal Privacy Law, April 18, 2018
- Press release: D.C. Court Decision: Ball is Now in FCC Chairman Pai’s Court to Protect Consumers from Robocalls, March 16, 2018
- Press release: Advocates to FCC: Do More, Much More to Block Unwanted Robocalls, Feb. 23, 2018
- Press release: Robocall Problem Even Worse than FTC Data Shows, Jan. 4, 2018
- Press release: Banking Lobbyists Back FCC Petition to Shield Companies from Penalties for Text Messaging Consumers, Dec. 19, 2017
- Press release: Consumer Groups Oppose Credit Unions’ Attempts to Robocall, Text Message Customers Without Their Consent, Nov. 7, 2017
- Press Release: FCC Must Protect Consumers from Unwanted Telemarketing and Debt Collection Voicemails, May 18, 2017
- Press Release: FCC Must Resist Industry Pressure to Unleash Incessant Robocalls to Student Loan Borrowers and Their Relatives and Neighbors, Feb. 1, 2017
- Policy Briefs: Amicus Brief to DC Circuit Court by NCLC on behalf of the low-income clients and other consumer groups to defend FCC 2015 Omnibus Order, Jan. 2016
- Press Release: A win for consumers! FCC limits robocalls for collectors of federal student loan debt, August 11, 2016
- Press Release: FCC proposes rules to protect student loan borrowers and other consumers from collectors of federal debt, May 10, 2016
- Congress Set to Allow Robocalls to Cellphones, Oct. 27, 2015
- Press Release: FCC Protects Consumers from Unsolicited Robocalls and Texts to Cell Phones and Moves to Modernize Lifeline Program, June 18, 2015
- Press Release: FCC Announces Proposed Ruling Protecting Consumers from Unwanted Robocalls and Texts to Cell Phones, May 28, 2015
- Sign the petition to tell the FCC: NO robocalls to my cell phone
- Press Release: 60,000 consumers tell the FCC: No robocalls to my cellphone, Feb. 19, 2015
- Press Release FCC Poised to Open the Floodgates for Robocalls to Cell Phones, Jan. 2015
- Testimony before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation regarding the Escalating Problem of Unwanted Robocalls and What To Do About It, April 18, 2018
- Consumer groups comments to the FCC re: Advanced Methods to to Target and Eliminate Unlawful Robocalls, Feb. 22, 2018
- Consumer group comments to the FCC re: Advanced Methods to Target and Eliminate Unlawful Robocalls, Jan. 23, 2018
- Group comments to FCC re: Petition for Declaratory Ruling by the FHFA on emergency communications by mortgage servicers to borrowers after a declared disaster, Dec. 4, 2017
- Comments of NCLC and other consumer groups to the FCC opposing a request for an exemption from liability by an automated texter, Outcome Health, Nov. 27, 2017.
- Group comments to the FCC opposing the Credit Union National Association petition for exemptions to the TCPA to make robocalls and text messages, Nov. 6, 2017
- Group comments to FCC on the Proposal to Develop a Reassigned Number Database, Aug. 28, 2017; Group Reply Comments, Sept. 26, 2017
- Group comments to FCC on the proposed rules regarding Advanced Methods for Blocking Robocalls, June 30, 2017
- Group comments to FCC opposing Exemptions for Ringless Voice Mail (RVM), May 18, 2017
- Group comments to the FCC re: Opposition to Petition for Reconsideration, Feb. 1, 2017
- NCLC comments to the FCC re: procedures relating to retroactive waivers of liability for telemarketing callers and fax senders, Dec. 8, 2016
- Group comments to the FCC requesting additional, clarifying language to healthcare companies petition to exclude telemarketing robocalls without consent, October 18, 2016
- NCLC’s Comments Opposing Professional Services Council Petition for Reconsideration of Broadnet Ruling, Sept. 9, 2016
- Group comments to FCC opposing Mortgage Bankers Association request for exemption to allow robocalls without consent, Aug. 26, 2016
- Petition for Reconsideration of the Federal Communications Commission’s Declaratory Ruling and Request for a Stay re: Broadnet Teleservices, et al, July 26, 2016 || Press Release || Reply comments, Aug. 16, 2016 and Final comments of NCLC and 50 legal aid and public interest groups supporting reconsideration of FCC ruling and request for a stay re: Broadnet Teleservices et al , Aug. 29, 2016 || Reply comments, Sept. 15, 2016
- Comments to the FCC from NCLC and 24 national and state organizations supporting the FCC's proposed rule to stop unwanted robocalls for federal debt and urging even greater protections, June 6, 2016 and Reply comments, June 21, 2016
- Testimony before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation regarding the importance of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act to Safeguard Consumers, May 18, 2016
- Group ex parte comments to the FCC opposing Hubbard Broadcasting's petition for robocall exemptions, Mar. 7, 2016
- Group comments to the FCC on Blackboard, Edison Electric Institute, and American Gas Asso. petitions regarding the scope of consent to send autodialed calls and texts to cell phones, Aug. 7, 2015
- Comments to the FCC in response to the Commission's request for comments on the Petition for a Declaratory Ruling and/or Clarification brought by Citizens Bank, March 16, 2015
- NCLC and NACA comments to the FCC re: ACA International's Reply Comments re: for Consumer Bankers Association petition re: exemption to the Telecommunications Consumer Protection Act, Jan. 2015
- Group comments to the FCC re: opposing the American Bankers Association exemption to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act to allow robocalls to cell phones, Dec. 2014
- Group comments to the FCC re: preserving the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) protections for cell phones, Nov. 2014.
- Comments to the Federal Trade Commission regarding the Telemarketing Sales Rule Regulatory Review, Nov. 2014
- Comments to the Federal Communications Commission re: Rules and Regulations Implementing the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991, Sept. 26, 2014
- Comments to the FCC opposing change to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act to allow marketing robo-calls to cell phones, Aug. 2014
- Joint comments in response to the FCC's request for comments on the Petition for Expedited Declaratory Ruling and/or Expedited Rulemaking filed by United Healthcare Services, Inc., March 2014
- Group letter urging FCC to Initiate Enforcement Action Against Navient for Violations of the TCPA, June 14, 2017 Exhibit 1 and Exhibit 2
- Group letter to U.S. Senate supporting S 3026 ROBOCOP Act to reduce robocall abuses and opposing S 2644 FCC Reauthorization Act to weaken TCPA, Nov. 15, 2016
- Letter to the U.S. House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology supporting HR 4932 (Robocop Act), Sept. 22, 2016
- Group Letter to the FCC opposing rule allowing federal government contractors to make robocalls to cellphones, July 12, 2016
- Group letter to the FCC re: Essential Principles of Consumer Protection that the FCC Should Adopt for Calls to Collect Government Debt, March 23, 2016
- Group letter urging U.S. House of Representatives to support HR 4682 Help Americans Never Get Unwanted Phone call (HANGUP Act), March 11, 2016
- Group letter urging U.S. Senators to support the Help Americans Never Get Unwanted Phone calls (HANGUP) bill, Nov. 2, 2015
- Consumer letter to the FCC re: robocalls to cell phones, June 8, 2015
- Ex parte letter to the FCC re ongoing issues related to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, April 2015
- Letter to the FCC regarding a health care industry's request to eviscerate the TCPA protections against robocalls to cell phones, Feb. 23, 2015
- Response to Ex Parte Presentation of the National Council of Higher Education Resources, Jan 2015
- Ex parte letter to the FCC re ongoing attempts by industry to weaken the consumer protections of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, Jan. 2015
Class Actions and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, Who Benefits?Seven Myths and Facts
- Group letter to FCC letter regarding notice of Ex Parte presentation, May 2014
- 6/26/17 The Hill op-ed "Consumers Need Strong Protections from Robocalls" by NCLC Senior Counsel Margot Saunders.
- 6/13/17 Boston Globe Editorial “FCC should reject new robocall initiative” quotes NCLC Senior Counsel Margot Saunders on robocalls and the First Amendment.
- 6/6/17 Morning Consult op-ed “Agencies should ensure enforcement of unwanted robocalls, texts” by NCLC Senior Counsel Margot Saunders and Randall A. Snyder argues for greater consumer protections against telemarketers.
- 6/3/17 New York Times “Telemarketers fight to get in with no ring” by Tara Siegel Bernard quotes NCLC Senior Counsel Margot Saunders on the dangers of ringless voicemail. This story also ran in the Boston Globe and the Tampa Bay Times.
- 6/1/17 CBS Evening News (National) 2:01 runtime "Companies want robocalls to go straight to your voicemail" in which Anna Werner interviews NCLC Senior Counsel Margot Saunders.
- 2/8/17 KOMO Radio (Seattle) (3:20 runtime) NCLC attorney Margot Saunders discusses concerns that the FCC might loosen regulations that would allow robocalls by student loan servicers and debt collectors to cellphones without consent with consumer reporter Herb Weisbaum.