FCC/FTC Actions Hold Voice Service Providers Responsible for Illegal Robocalling

The FCC and FTC have stepped up enforcement against voice service providers they say are responsible for helping transmit illegal robocall traffic. The dual actions highlight the need for voice service providers, including Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) providers, to comply with all FCC and FTC regulations governing illegal robocalling and to respond to agency inquiries about compliance.

FCC Issues First RoboBlocking Order

The FCC ordered all voice service providers to block traffic from international gateway provider One Eye LLC by June 10, 2023.

The One Eye “RoboBlocking” Order is the first of its kind since the Gateway Provider Order a year ago. That Order requires providers to police their networks and block illegal traffic when notified by the FCC.

FTC Sues VoIP Provider for Transmitting Billions of Illegal Robocalls

A lawsuit filed against VoIP provider XCast Labs shows that the FTC will hold VoIP providers responsible for failing to stop customers from using their networks for illegal robocalls. The Department of Justice filed a complaint in federal court on behalf of the FTC, seeking permanent injunctions, civil penalties, and a jury trial against XCast for allegedly helping its customers deliver billions of illegal robocalls and fraudulent telemarketing calls to consumers in violation of the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR).

The complaint alleges that since January 2018, XCast transmitted illegal robocalls that marketed goods and services with deceptive sales practices such as extended automobile warranties, and transmitted fraudulent telemarketing scams including (i) robocalls falsely claiming affiliations with government entities, (ii) threats to cut off a call recipient’s utility service if immediate payment is not received, and (iii) claiming a call recipient’s credit card was charged and that the recipient must act promptly for a refund.

According to the FTC, XCast received multiple notices and warnings from the FTC, USTelecom’s Industry Traceback Group, and the Department of Justice, and numerous complaints from downstream providers that it was transmitting illegal calls. The complaint says that despite receiving these notices, XCast continued to transmit illegal robocalls. The FTC has asked the court to enter a permanent injunction to prevent XCast from violating the TSR and the FTC Act, and to award penalties of up to $50,120 per violation.

If you would like more information about the above actions, or have questions about FCC or FTC regulations governing illegal robocalling, contact an attorney in our Broadband, Spectrum, and Communications Infrastructure practice group.