AG office reaches settlement with telecom carrier focused on innovative robocall mitigation measures

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office finalized a settlement agreement last Friday requiring a major Texas-based Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service provider to implement strict, first-of-their-kind measures aimed at collaboratively stopping illegal robocalls.

This settlement agreement with All Access Telecom Inc. appears to be the first time a state attorney general or federal agency has been able to modify a VoIP service provider’s business practices to specifically clamp down on illegal robocalls.

The Attorney General’s Office used complaints sent to the office by the public to trace an illegal robocall regarding a Social Security Administration scam to All Access, which had allegedly carried a foreign illegal robocall into the United States and onto a Michigan resident. As part of Nessel’s Robocall Crackdown Initiative, significant resources are provided to the public through the Attorney General’s website, including a complaint form specific to robocalls.

The settlement agreement requires All Access to:

• Fully comply with the Michigan Home Solicitation Sales Act, the Michigan Consumer Protection Act, and the Federal Trade Commission’s Telemarketing Sales Rule.

• Conduct “know-your-customer” reviews of all existing and prospective customers, including their business practices, industry ratings, regulatory filings, legal histories, network modifications and even the legal history of the customer’s ownership.

• Immediately terminate customers that are problematic, namely if they are located overseas, are tied to illegal robocalls traced by law enforcement, send robocalls without notice, send a certain percentage of call traffic lasting less than 6 seconds, are blocked by another carrier pursuant to FCC approval, and do not deploy caller-ID authentication technology.

• Submit detailed reports to the Michigan Department of Attorney General upon request.

Nessel’s Robocall Crackdown Initiative continues to target VoIP service providers carrying illegal robocalls as these businesses are the major funnels used by scammers and others to cheaply and effectively make millions of illegal robocalls within minutes to consumers all over the country.

Since its launch in November, the Robocall Crackdown Initiative has made significant progress. Most recently, the Attorney General’s Office opened a criminal investigation into voter suppression robocalls made to Detroit-area residents. In August, Nessel forced the shutdown of MODOK LLC, a VoIP service provider, for carrying illegal robocalls. In July, Assistant Attorney General Wisam Naoum was appointed by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai to the FCC’s new Hospital Robocall Protection Group, an advisory committee required by Congress to issue best practices to protect hospitals from robocalls. In June, Nessel filed a federal lawsuit in Texas alongside six other states for an alleged robocall operation responsible for over a billion illegal robocalls. In May, Nessel also cosponsored a letter, which was joined by 51 other attorneys general, to USTelecom urging the association to further develop robocall traceback and other tools suited to law enforcement needs.