New FCC Ruling Will Allow Phone Companies to Block Robocalls by Default

FCC rules phone providers can block robocalls

Federal regulators are stepping up the war on the machines - at least the ones who call you at all hours without getting your permission first. The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday voted to allow phone companies block robocalls before they even get to your cell or home phone.

Some apps can block the unwanted calls, but owners must opt-in to use them. The FCC's new ruling means phone companies will be able to block the calls by default using 'reasonable call analytics.'

"If there is one thing in our country today that unites Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives, socialists and libertarians, vegetarians and carnivores, Ohio State and Michigan fans, it is that they are sick and tired of being bombarded by unwanted robocalls," said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai during the commission's monthly meeting. "My message to the American people today is simple: We hear you, and we are on your side."

However, while phone companies can now offer these tools for free, there's no requirement by the FCC that they do so. Consumers also have the option to 'opt-out' and ask the carrier to allow all calls to come into on their line.

According to one study, more than 26.3 billion robocalls were made in 2018 to cell phones across the U.S. - and that trend continued in 2019. That's because of cheap software that makes it easy for scammers and marketers to make a massive amount of calls to the phone numbers on their list. Even if you've added your number to the Government's Do Not Call list, that hasn't stopped the calls from pouring in.

That's created a public outcry that Congress hasn't ignored. In May, the Senate passed a bill that required phone companies to do more to stem the rise of the robocalling-machines, but that bill has yet to be approved in the House.

Photo: Getty Images

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