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What Collections Departments Can Do about Call-Blocking Apps

Google “call blocking” for a moment. Then come back to this post.

If you did that, you know what a big problem this is becoming for AR and collection departments and agencies. Our company president is on the ACA Federal Affairs Committee, and call blocking came up during a recent meeting because it’s causing so many challenges.

FCC’s TCPA Declaratory Ruling in 2015, which was absurd for many reasons, opened the door for phone companies to start creating and/or selling call-blocking apps. ACA International is suing the FCC regarding this ruling, but that hasn’t stopped one of the most significant issues from this ruling from gaining momentum extremely fast.  

Why are Call-Blocking Apps a Problem?

These call-blocking apps, such as PrivacyStar by First Orion, allow members to download the app, and start blocking all calls suspected of being spam. However, debt collection calls and other calls from creditors that use dialing technology will fall into this category — even though there are legitimate business reasons and consent to call.

The ACA is working with these providers of phone services to explain our industry in an attempt to fix this issue, but as you know, that can be very difficult. They are talking with the providers that may want to label us as a debt collector, which would bypass from being blocked, but then would open up our industry to third-party disclosure issues with the FDCPA.

How You Can Help
One of the most challenging things for our industry is that we are not appropriately notified when we are blocked. The call could be a busy signal or endless ringing, while your accounts are still rotating through our dialer platforms. Right party contact rates are certainly going to fall as these apps become more popular. Call authentication can be a long-term solution for this, but in the short term, ACA International needs your help.

Analyze your data; are your contact rates trending downward yet? If you have any pertinent information on how it has impacted your organization, the ACA wants to hear from you. Simply go to their website and look for the green “share your call blocking and labeling issues with ACA” tab in the middle. (Note: you must be an ACA member to share.)