The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has released its annual report to Congress, detailing consumer complaints and enforcement action in connection with illegal robocalls.
Released at the end of December, the report offers insight into trends related to complaints regarding robocall over a nearly six-year period from January 2015 through November 2020. Informal consumer complaints increased dramatically during the first four years covered by the report, from just over 200,000 in 2015 to more than 300,000 in 2018. But total consumer complaints then dropped significantly in the following two-year period, with 272,000 complaints filed in 2019 and an estimated 200,000 in 2020.
The drop in consumer complaints in 2019 and 2020 coincides with major actions undertaken by the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau against robocall operators. The Commission issued three Notices of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture during that two-year period, with proposed forfeitures totaling nearly $250 million. The proposed forfeiture amounts included a record $225 million fine proposed against two men reportedly responsible for making approximately one billion spoofed robocalls during the first half of 2019.
The Commission also issued two Forfeiture Orders in 2020, assessing penalties of nearly $50 million in connection with almost two and half million illegal telemarketing calls.