May 3, 2023
Call Blocking Redress Best Practices
Consumers and businesses benefit from the ability to flag or block robocalls and other illegitimate calls. Federal legislation and advanced technology have made it easier to thwart spammers and scammers, helping to restore trust among call recipients. They now feel safer when they answer a call thanks to these measures.
Sadly, these advances have also meant that some legitimate numbers get blocked or flagged, adversely affecting fair, necessary commerce. However, you have a way to remediate these issues: call blocking redress requests.
Importance of Call Blocking Redress
Carriers have the ability to block and flag many calls. In fact, the FCC has given them the approval to use any “reasonable analytics” to generate call blocking and to enable these programs by default. This mandate gives carriers significant power that can sometimes be misapplied.
Analytics technology is fairly accurate, but there are some harmful inconsistencies. This weakness means that carriers may block or mislabel legitimate businesses due to faults in the technology. Even though these negative actions are not intentionally unfair, they can harm your company’s profits and reputation. Your agents may be unable to reach clients, or if the calls do go through, the clients will probably choose not to answer them if they are labeled as unknown or potential spam calls.
Whitelisting Phone Numbers
You can avoid some of these problems by asking carriers to whitelist your phone numbers. You can submit these numbers to the carriers and third-party providers with a use case to request whitelisting, a practice that allows your calls to go through without being blocked.
A high volume of calls can often trigger blocking and negative labeling from carriers. However, a company can have a valid reason for placing these calls, which often include appointment reminders and account alerts. When major carriers receive whitelist requests, they may stop blocking or labeling your outbound calls by adding the number to their “safe lists,” significantly increasing your contact rate.
Call Blocking Notifications
You need to understand why and how your numbers are being blocked. You can get this information by checking the 603, 603+, 607, and 608 SIP header codes. The contact information in some of these codes can be used to achieve call-blocking redress.
SIP 603 Response
603 has long been used by service providers to provide general information to the caller. It simply means that a call was not completed without providing more specific information. The call recipient may have deliberately blocked your number, or they may have been too busy to answer.
SIP 603+ Response
603+ is a more helpful code. It lets you know why the call was blocked and who blocked it. You can retrieve the contact information of the blocking carrier so that you can redress the situation. And finally, 603+ creates a more consistent framework for relaying blocking notifications.
SIP 607/608 Responses
Code 607 indicates that the call is not wanted by the call recipient and provides information on why the call was rejected. In contrast, SIP 608 means that an “upstream intermediary” blocked the call. The code also provides contact information so you can seek redress with the intermediary.
Best Practices for Carrier Redress
If you feel your calls are being wrongly blocked or labeled, you should take the following steps immediately:
- Identify: Identify the party blocking your calls and why they are taking this action. The SIP codes should provide this information. Once you understand the issue, take action to remediate it.
- Remediate: Correct poor dialing practices. Once you understand why your calls are being blocked or flagged, make changes to the offending dialing practices. For instance, limit the number of calls from a single number per day, correct poor agent interactions, and improve your phone number monitoring.
- Redress: Once you have taken corrective steps, you can redress the flags and blocks with the carriers and analytics engines by contacting them directly. If you are at fault, you will need to prove that you have remediated your dialing practices so that they will consider changing their designations. If carriers and intermediaries have blocked your numbers in error, you will need to provide proof.
Carriers will ask for detailed information, including your contact’s name and email, the company name, your outward bound phone numbers, the disputed label or labels, and the originating service provider when possible.
The requests should go to the FCC-required single point of contact for that carrier, the carrier’s unique complaint/ticket resolution system, or the analytics engine (AE).
Vigilance Through Redress Requests
The current system is imperfect, although the FCC continues to improve it. Your company may still suffer from unfair labels and unearned blocking at times. Remember, you have resources for call blocking redress, and you should promptly use them if your numbers are unfairly labeled or blocked. Most carriers and AEs have created forms for this process. While these system weaknesses are frustrating, you do have ways to address the problems.