As a lack of transparency and redress in call blocking and labeling are potentially clobbering telephone research, a key advisory group told the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that those principles will be important in helping consumers, too.

The Robocall Blocking Working Group of the FCC Consumer Advisory Committee issued its recommendations on September 17, 2019, recommended that “consumers should be appropriately notified if calls intended for them are blocked” and providers of call blocking “should offer a blocked call log, or similar tools, that consumers can access at will. Service providers should provide blocked call information where consumers customarily view information about the call-blocking and labeling service. For example, service providers could provide the blocked call list to wireless and wireline customers with their online account information. Service providers could give wireless customers access to the blocked call list through an app. Consumers should also have the option to easily report numbers erroneously blocked through these call-blocking and labeling services. Each service provider should weigh the pros and cons of each option when developing the tools for their customers.”

Further, the group suggested that call blocking providers need to give consumers “clear disclosures with respect to the types of calls (spam, scam, etc.) that they can expect will be blocked, in addition to warning them that wanted calls may be inadvertently blocked as well. Consumers should also be provided with clear instructions about how to opt out, should they so choose. Consumers should have options to manage robocall blocking preferences, such as through a customer portal, instore, by phone, or other choices that may be offered by providers.”

The Insights Association finds these recommendations interesting, since they are just the kinds of transparency and redress which we are seeking for telephone researchers. Sadly, the rest of the Robocall Blocking Working Group’s recommendations are predictable, with no mention or heed of the importance of legitimate callers, including marketing research callers.