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Welch-Championed Legislation Cracking Down on Robocalls Signed into Law

January 2, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON – President Trump signed into law bipartisan legislation championed by Rep. Peter Welch that will crack down on unwanted and predatory robocalls.

“Vermonters are fed up with intrusive robocalls that are annoying at best and predatory at worst,” said Welch. “These calls often originate from scam artists intent on ripping off unsuspecting consumers, particularly seniors. This is a bipartisan win for Vermonters that gives the FCC the tools it needs to be the cop on the beat to go after these bad actors.”

Robocalls have dramatically increased in Vermont and nationally. In 2018, 47 billion robocalls were made in the United States, representing a 64 percent increase over 2016. In 2016, scams involving robocalls cost 22 million Americans a total of $9.5 billion.

The new law will:

  • Ensure the FCC has the authority to take decisive action to track down robocallers violating the law;
  • Allow consumers to revoke prior consent to receive calls;
  • Require carriers to offer call-authentication technology to consumers and small businesses—in rural and urban America—at no additional charge;
  • Require opt-in or opt-out robocall blocking be offered at no additional charge to consumers;
  • Require the FCC to work to stop one-ring scams; and
  • Extend the statute of limitations from one to four years for robocallers violating the law.

In May, Welch was joined at an airport press conference by Vermont Attorney General TJ Donovan and Shelburne senior Kathryn Ottinger to highlight legislation he cosponsored to tackle the problem. Mrs. Ottinger shared her experience of being bombarded at her home by daily robocalls.

During House debate on the bill, Welch spoke about how the bill would benefit Mrs. Ottinger and other Vermonters. Here is video of his remarks.

Welch is a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee from which the bill originated.

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