Federal Deception Law
Covers key federal standards preventing marketplace deception and federal and parallel state remedies for violations. Special chapter on the TCPA.
Stop Unwanted Robocalls!
Click below to learn:
- How Congress and the FCC Can Protect Americans from Invasive and Dangerous Robocalls and Robotexts
- How to Hang Up on Telemarketing Robocalls
- How to Hang Up on Debt Collection Robocalls
- How to Hang Up on Robocall Scams
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 (2020)
The problem is worse than it seems. American consumers received an estimated 45,866,949,500 robocalls in 2020. Check the map. Click on your state to see just how many robocalls were made to your friends and neighbors last year. Many of these calls were made illegally to cell phones without consent.
Source: YouMail, Robocall Index (2021)
Congress and the Federal Communications Commission have taken aim at scam and spoofed (disguised number) calls but have given less attention to much-needed consumer protections from some of the largest banks’, telemarketers’, and debt collectors’ robocalls. 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 2019 being the worst year on record for robocalls.
Companies appearing more than once made outbound calls from multiple numbers. Source: YouMail, Robocall Index (2021)
- Six Top Tips for Consumers to Stop Illegal Robocalls, May 2018
- Robocallers: Uninvited Guests (Video), March 2018
- Wrong Numbers, Bankruptcies, and a Quadruple Bypass: Robocalls from Creditors Don’t Stop, October 2018
- Enraged Relatives, Settled Debts, and Wrong Number Calls: Too Many Illegal Debt Collection Robocalls Go Unchecked, October 2018
- Without Consent, Navient’s Student Debt Collection Robocalls Keep Coming, October 2018
- 3/3/21 Insider “THE ANNOYANCE ENGINE: Spam robocalls became profitable scams by exploiting the phone system, but you can stop them” quotes NCLC Senior Counsel Margot Saunders.
- 1/25/21 Morning Consult “Will the Supreme Court Shield Americans from Unwanted Robocalls?” by NCLC Senior Counsel Margot Saunders
- 6/20/19 Washington Post “House Lawmakers Unveil Bipartisan Anti-Robocall Bill” quotes NCLC Senior Counsel Margot Saunders
- 4/26/19 New York Times “Phone Companies Are Testing Tech to Catch Spam Calls. Let’s Hope It Works.” quotes NCLC Senior Counsel Margot Saunders
- 3/28/19 Wall Street Journal “The FCC Has Fined Robocallers $208 Million. It’s Collected $6,790.” quotes NCLC Senior Counsel Margot Saunders
- 11/9/18 CNN “Rules against robocalls shouldn’t be loosened” by NCLC Senior Counsel Margot Saunders
- 6/26/17 The Hill “Consumers Need Strong Protections from Robocalls” by NCLC Senior Counsel Margot Saunders.
Policy Briefs, Reports & Press Releases
- Fact Sheet: What Has the U.S. Supreme Court Done? Many Robocalls and Robotexts May Now be Legal after the Court’s Decision in Facebook v. Duguid, April 2021
- Press release: Supreme Court Deals Blow to Protections Against Robocalls; Advocates Urge Congress to Act to Prevent a Tsunami of Unwanted Calls and Texts to Cellphones, April 1, 2020
- Press release: FCC Issues Order Limiting Invasive Robocalls to Landline Phones, Jan. 4, 2021
- Press release: New FCC Ruling Supports Advocates’ Petition Urging it to Stop Unwanted Robocalls from Federal Contractors but Leaves Gray Area Regarding States’ Role, Dec. 15, 2020
- Issue brief: How Congress and the FCC Can Protect Americans from Invasive and Dangerous Robocalls and Robotexts, November 2020
- Press Release: Consumer Groups Demand Review of FCC Ruling that the Calling Industry Claims Will Allow Millions More Unsolicited Text Messages and Calls to Consumers’ Cellphones, July 24, 2020
- Press Release: Supreme Court Votes to Uphold Right to Stop Political Robocalls and Texts; Advocates Stress Importance of FCC in Upholding Key Consumer Privacy Law (TCPA), July 6, 2020
More policy briefs, reports & press releases >>>
Comments and Testimony
- EPIC & NCLC file comprehensive comments asking the FCC to force the telephone service providers who provide access to the telephone system for illegal robocallers to be held accountable for their actions, October 14, 2021
- Comments in Opposition to Perdue Petition Seeking to Allow Unlimited Ringless Voicemail, October 4, 2021
- Testimony of Odette Williamson before the Senate Special Committee on Aging on “Frauds, Scams & Covid-19: How Con Artists Have Targeted Older Americans During the Pandemic,” Sep. 23, 2021
- Group comments to the FCC re: Notice of Ex Parte Presentation, CG Docket No. 02-278, September 7, 2021
- Group comments to the FCC re: Petitions for Reconsideration of Regulations Establishing Limits on Exempt Automated Calls, April 27, 2021
- Group comments to the FCC regarding exemptions implemented under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991, October 26, 2020
- Consumer and privacy groups Appeal to the FCC ruling that federal protections against unwanted text messages do not apply to peer-to-peer (P2P) text messaging systems (P2P Alliance Petition), July 24, 2020 (Press Release)
- Group Comments to the FCC Opposing the Petition for Declaratory Ruling Filed by Assurance IQ, LLC, June 22, 2020
- NCLC & American Bankers’ Association Ex-Parte joint comments to the FCC requesting quick action to interpret the TCPA’s emergency exception to apply to automated calls from creditors during the COVID-19 emergency when informing consumers of forbearance and payment deferral options for loans secured by homes and vehicles, April 23, 2020
- Group Ex-Parte Comments to the FCC supporting the American Banker Asso. and other lenders petition on pandemic calls during declared national emergency, limited numbers of automated calls from the described institutions to alert their customers to the callers’ offers of the specified kinds of relief related to the COVID-19 pandemic, April 9, 2020; Related press release, April 10, 2020
- National Consumer Groups’ Ex Parte Notice on the Requirement for the Use of Certain Codes Notifying Robocallers That Their Calls Are Blocked, Urging the FCC to Ensure That Unwanted Robocalls Continue to be Blocked, September 22, 2021
- Consumer and Privacy Group Comments to the FCC re: Notice of Ex Parte Presentation, CG Docket No. 02-278, Opposing Broadnet’s Requests for Interpretations of the meaning of “person” under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, August 17, 2020
- Group letter to the FCC re: Notice of Ex Parte Presentation, CG Docket No. 02-278, Petition of Assurance IQ, LLC (see explanation beginning on page 5 of document on Lead Generation Fraud in Telemarketing Calls), August 12, 2020
- Amicus brief of the National Consumer Law Center and the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Lindenbaum v. Realgy, LLC, arguing that the TCPA was not unconstitutional during the five-year period before the government debt exception was struck down, Feb. 1, 2021
- NCLC, Consumer Federation of America, and Consumer Reports Amicus Brief to U.S. Supreme Court in Facebook v. Duguid and press release, Oct. 23, 2020
- Amicus brief of the National Consumer Law Center, National Association of Consumer Advocates and Consumer Federation of America in support of affirmance in Pam Lamkin v. Portfolio Recovery Associates, April 17, 2020
- Amicus brief of the National Consumer Law Center, Verizon, and Consumer Federation of America to the U.S. Supreme Court supporting neither party in Barr v American Association of Political Consultants, Inc., et al, March 2, 2020; Press release