The Senate has proposed new legislation to combat the rising problem of robocalls in the United States. The Protection from Robocalling Act and Data Analytics Robocall Technology Act (DART) could end unwanted nuisance calls from computerized autodialers. The U.S. received around 38.8 billion robocalls from January-August in 2019 and costs the American economy millions of dollars a year.

This post will explore the differences between these two pieces of legislation, how they work alongside the recently-passed TRACED Act, and examine how these legislative changes could impact your business.

What is the Protection from Robocalling Act?

The Protection from Robocalling Act could prevent unwanted calls from telecom companies, who have been exempt from previous robocall legislation. Various federal agencies, and not the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), used to regulate these calls, which meant they were subject to different rules and regulations. The Protection from Robocalling Act (which, at the time of publication, has not yet been passed by the Senate) will close this loophole.

“These calls are more than a nuisance. Robocalls allow scam artists to target their victims and can tie up emergency service numbers, putting people’s lives at risk,” says Senator of California Dianne Feinstein, one of the proponents of this bill. “We must do more than go after the people making the robocalls, we need to stop the phone services that make this illegal behavior possible. Our bill will give the FTC the tools it needs to do exactly that.”

What is the Data Analytics Robocall Technology Act (DART)?

DART will implement a pilot program that enables the FCC to block unauthenticated calls at their point of origin. Using the latest tracking analytics to identify scammers, the FCC will essentially stop robocalls in their tracks and prevent them from reaching people.

This will satisfy the American public, who have had to deal with unwanted robocalls for decades:

“According to a YouMail report, more than 49 billion robocalls have been placed this year — with 5 billion plaguing consumers just in the month of October,” says The National Law Review in a recent article. “In [the fiscal year] 2019, the FTC received 3.78 million complaints about robocalls, and the FCC estimates that they cost the American economy $3 billion a year from lost time alone, not counting fraud or other monetary damages.”

Senator for Minnesota Amy Klobuchar is one of the biggest proponents of the DART Act:

“New technology has enabled scammers to ‘spoof’ or alter their phone numbers so that the calls appear to be local, making them nearly impossible to recognize or track,” she says. “The DART Act would establish a pilot program to expand the Federal Communications Commission’s attempt to combat robocalls and help hold these criminals accountable while also ensuring public safety.”

Unlike the Protection from Robocalling Act, the Senate has already approved the DART Act, and more information about this legislation will be available soon.

However, it’s clear that, under the new bill, the FCC will only allow automated messages from select organizations. These organizations are:

  • Emergency services.
  • Government agencies.
  • Schools and educational institutions.
  • Weather agencies.

It’s still early days for the DART Act, and it’s unclear whether the FCC will eliminate all unwanted robocalls from reaching their intended recipients or whether messages will slip through the system.

How Does This Legislation Work With the TRACED Act?

There’s another piece of legislation that everyone’s talking about. It’s called the TRACED Act, and it will implement the SHAKEN/STIR framework introduced in 2017, which allows carriers and telecom companies to block illegal robocalls.

You can read more about the TRACED Act here.

Senators hope that the Protection from Robocalling Act and the DART Act will work alongside the TRACED Act to prevent people from receiving unauthenticated robocalls. The TRACED Act stipulates that a technological, network-based solution is the only effective way to stop unwanted robocalls, not enhanced enforcement.

The TRACED Act also prohibits cell providers from charging customers a subscription fee for using call authentication technology and services.

But will these legislative changes work?

“Because robocalls are relatively easy to generate with a computer and can originate from anywhere around the globe, enforcement of existing law is akin to a game of whack-a-mole,” says The National Law Review in a recent article.

Plus, genuine calls might get caught up in the process.

How Will the DART Act Impact Your Business?

All of these legislative changes will have a significant impact on your business if you make outbound calls to your customers and clients. As the government cracks down on illegal robocalls, it’s more than likely that the FCC will mistake many genuine calls for spam. This can result in the FCC and telecom carriers blocking your numbers.

There is nothing in the proposed legislation that states callers will receive a notification if the FCC blocks their calls. This might mean you have no idea that your calls aren’t getting through to customers and clients. In fact, you might not realize until you notice a drop in outbound sales or you carry out a follow-up call.

Using a service like Caller ID Reputation can help in this situation. You can discover whether phone carriers have flagged your calls as spam, so you can take the appropriate steps to rectify the problem and optimize your outbound sales strategies.

Takeaway

Although the Senate has yet to pass one of the pieces of legislation in this article, the Protection from Robocalling Act, the government is cracking down on unwanted robocalls, and this could impact your business.

  • The Protection from Robocalling Act and DART act are two pieces of legislation that could prevent nuisance robocalls.
  • These pieces of legislation should work alongside the TRACED Act, which implements the framework for SHAKEN/STIR.
  • Businesses who use outbound call strategies should check their numbers online to prevent them from being flagged as spam.