AT&T and Verizon aren’t doing enough to protect customers from robocalls, according to Consumers Union, the policy and advocacy arm of Consumer Reports. 

Consumers Union launched its End Robocalls campaign in February and called on the major phone companies to offer customers free tools that block unwanted robocalls. AT&T and Verizon responded with letters to Consumers Union outlining their efforts to curb robocalls. Both companies highlighted their work with government, industry and engineering groups to address robocalls and touted existing technologies in the marketplace. No tools currently are available for free to most consumers.Both companies also have argued that call-blocking tools would prevent customers from receiving legitimate robocalls.  Consumers Union, arguing customers deserve the right to decide whether the benefits of call-blocking tools outweigh any potential downside, said the efforts of AT&T and Verizon have failed to put a dent in the number of unwanted calls targeting their customers. Consumers Union questioned the companies' efforts, noting that there were more than twice as many complaints to the Federal Trade Commission about Do Not Call List violations in 2014 as there were in 2007. What’s more, while there are technological solutions to stop robocalls currently available to certain VoIP customers, AT&T, Verizon and CenturyLink have been reluctant to offer them to all of their customers, according to Consumers Union. CenturyLink has yet to respond to Consumers Union’s campaign.  Consumers have told Consumers Union about their experience with tools to stop robocalls such as Nomorobo, a free service that is only available to certain VoIP subscribers. The company has said the tool is also compatible with landlines and wireless phones. But AT&T, Verizon and CenturyLink do not offer this type of free tool to their landline and wireless customers and have not developed a similar service for their customers. CenturyLink does not offer the free tool to even its VoIP subscribers, according to Consumers Union.More than 275,000 people have signed the petition on Consumers Union’s EndRobocalls.org campaign website demanding AT&T, Verizon and CenturyLink give customers the choice to use free, effective call-blocking technologies to stop robocalls.Consumers Union officials said some traditional landline users in Canada have access to technology that has proven helpful in limiting robocalls but U.S. phone companies thus far have failed to make it available to consumers.  AT&T and Verizon have not responded to the news release from Consumers Union. 

 

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