Billions of robocalls being made to frustrated consumers every month


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Unwanted calls are plaguing consumers and billions of those calls are being made to people every month.

The FCC says it wants to do something about it, but it will take the cooperation of the government and the companies that make phones to try and stem the tide of robocalls.

One complaint about the calls is that they often seem to come at the most inconvenient times.

“It’s very frustrating—especially when I’m out here trying to work and it’s nothing I’m interested in,” said small business owner Tamaro Jarvis.

Government statistics show that last month alone, Americans received 2.5 billion robocalls.

Many people block the numbers once they discover the number is associated with robocalls, but it’s not always successful.

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“I try to block them and they still find a way around my blocked calls and they call me from a different number,” said Felecia Chalmers, who said she’s frustrated by all the calls.

Because the numbers of robocalls are “spoofed,” the caller ID may not indicate where the call is actually originating from.

Phone companies say they are working on ways to track exactly where calls come from, but it’s going to take time to develop that technology.

In the meantime the FCC is trying to figure out if it has the power to make phone companies offer better call-blocking technology.

“From a consumer perspective, I think it’s a good idea,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to CBS News. “There’s some questions about our legal authority that we’re working with lawyers to figure out. In some cases, we don’t necessarily have the authority to mandate something.”

Consumer advocates say the FCC needs to try harder.

“We haven’t seen the same kind of crackdown on the phone companies that we have in the past,” said Tim Marvin of the Consumers Union.

In the meantime, the increasing number of robocalls is dialing up people’s anger.

“It’s very frustrating,” Chalmers said. “I figure you’d get the picture if we block you or hang up on you—why don’t you remove us from the call list?”

Even if you place your name on the National Do Not Call Registry, the law still allows charities, political groups, debt collectors and those making surveys to call you.

If you’re on the do not call list—and you get solicited from someone whose not supposed to be calling you—you can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.

Email CBS North Carolina’s Steve Sbraccia if you have a consumer issue.

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