The Federal Communications Commission announced yesterday that the Commission will release robocall and telemarketing consumer complaint data weekly “to help developers build and improve ‘do-not-disturb’ technologies that allow consumers to block or filter unwanted calls and texts.” The data, including originating phone numbers of telemarketers and automated robocalls, will be released and available on the FCC’s Consumer Help Center’s website.
In June, the Commission gave the green light for do-not-disturb technology, clarifying that there are no legal barriers to service providers offering robocall-blocking technologies to consumers. While such services are available today as apps on some smartphones and on VoIP phone systems, work is still underway for many carriers and third-party providers to offer consumers these tools on traditional landline networks.
In addition to providing data for robocall-blocking technology developers, the FCC uses consumer complaints to inform policy decisions, and also to support enforcement actions. The announcement stated that complaints about unwanted calls and texts are by far the largest complaint category to the agency, with over 215,000 complaints last year.
This data is similar to the data released periodically by the Federal Trade Commission. “Do Not Disturb” technologies use this information to determine what numbers might be originating unwanted calls. Companies may use data like this to further improve their services in determining what calls and texts a consumer might choose to block or filter (i.e. sent directly to voicemail).
The data is available here: http://go.usa.gov/3S7Aj on the FCC’s website. Accompanying the data are these notes/disclaimers:
The FCC receives informal consumer complaints about unwanted robocalls and telemarketing calls. A spreadsheet with the latest data is available for download below.
The data includes informal consumer complaints filed as of Oct. 1, 2015. It is refreshed weekly to include data from complaints submitted the previous week. Data fields include: date and time call received, type of message (e.g. prerecorded), complainant’s state, and caller ID phone number.
Some of the fields available to consumers in our complaint forms are optional. As a result, not all fields in the spreadsheet will include data.
The FCC does not verify all of the facts alleged in these complaints.