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Consumer Reports testifies before the California legislature in support of anti-robocalls bill

Sacramento, CA — The California Assembly Communications and Conveyance Committee today is expected to consider an anti-robocalls bill sponsored by Consumer Reports. The bill — AB 3007 (Chau) — would strengthen the existing robocall consent requirement to help ensure that consumers aren’t forced to submit to receiving an unending barrage of unwanted robocalls. 

Maureen Mahoney, policy analyst for Consumer Reports, will testify today in support of the bill.

Mahoney said in her prepared remarks: “Robocalls are a major disturbance to our privacy and peace. Consumers tell us that robocalls have prevented them from dialing out in an emergency, have interrupted calls from doctors, and wake up night shift nurses and other essential workers when they’re trying to sleep. Robocalls are consistently a top consumer complaint to the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission.”

Consumer Reports applauded the committee for taking up the bill, which would also help combat robocalls seeking to defraud consumers in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic emergency. Robocall scammers have reportedly targeted consumers with fraudulent offers for coronavirus safety and medical kits.

“Fixing the robocalls problem has been a priority for Consumer Reports for years. And this bill is particularly important now, with the increase in telemarketing robocalls related to COVID-19, including scam robocalls peddling fake testing kits,” Mahoney said. “The rise in unemployment means that many consumers will have difficulty making regular payments on their loans, and will need these protections from harassing debt collection robocalls.”

The California legislature is considering this new action as efforts continue on the federal level to provide technology to rein in unwanted robocalls. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently approved rules requiring phone companies to implement STIR/SHAKEN, caller ID verification technology to help stop the problem of robocalls sent with a false identifier—so-called “spoofed” robocalls—on their internet protocol (IP) networks by June 30, 2021. The FCC rules are based on requirements in the TRACED Act, a bipartisan anti-robocalls bill that was supported by Consumer Reports and signed into law in December 2019. 

Consumer Reports has previously provided tips to help consumers avoid robocallers.

Contact: Cyrus Rassool, cyrus.rassool@consumer.org