WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) joined members of the Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet Subcommittee to introduce the Robocall Enforcement Enhancement Act of 2018. The legislation, led by Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI), would help the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) prosecute violations of its automated telemarketing call rules, also known as robocalls, by increasing the statute of limitations from one year to three and removing barriers that prevent the FCC from pursuing those who violate these rules.
“Most robocalls aren’t just unwanted and disruptive – they are illegal,” Klobuchar said. “By lengthening the statute of limitations for enforcing robocall violations and making it easier for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to go after scammers, this bill will help crack down on illegal robocalls and those who make them."
Complaints about unwanted robocalls have rapidly increased in recent years. In 2017, the Federal Trade Commission received more than 4.5 million robocall complaints, an increase of over a million calls from the year before. The process of identifying and going after robocall violators often takes months, making it difficult to move forward with a case under the current one year statute of limitations.
The legislation would help regulators fight illegal robocalls by:
- Lengthening the statute of limitations for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) pursuing violations of its robocall rules from one to three years;
- Lengthening the statute of limitations for the FCC pursuing violations of its rules against callers using fake caller identification information, also known as spoofing, from two years to three; and
- Allowing the FCC to pursue cases against robocall rule violations without first issuing a citation.
The bill is co-sponsored by Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet Subcommittee members U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-NM), Ed Markey (D-MA), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Jon Tester (D-MT), Gary Peters (D-MI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Maria Cantwell (D-WA).
As a member of the Senate Commerce Committee and ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy, and Consumer Rights, Klobuchar has been a leader in the fight to protect consumers from robocalls, ticket bots, unauthorized charges on their phone bills, and deceptive practices by fraudulent online travel booking websites. In 2015, Klobuchar called on the FCC to implement “Do Not Disturb” technology to block telemarketing and unwanted robocalls on both landline and wireless phones.