By: Mike Timmermann, Clark.com
If robocalls to your cell phone are driving you nuts, there’s a new annoyance you need to know about.
Ringless voicemails, also known as ringless robocalls, are when you suddenly get an alert or other type of indicator on your phone that you have a voicemail — but the phone never rang.
“Ringless voicemail is despicable and unacceptable,” Clark said on the radio show.
Read more: Know your rights with debt collectors
Ringless voicemail: What you need to know
The Attorneys General in New York, Massachusetts and Kentucky are urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to crack down on these ringless voicemails.
They’re opposed to a petition requesting that the messages be exempt from consumer protections.
Enacted by Congress in 1991, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act is meant to protect consumers from unwanted and intrusive calls. All About the Message is seeking an exemption, arguing the voicemails aren’t “calls.”
Without regulation, consumer advocates are concerned that millions of Americans, including those on the “Do Not Call” list, could be flooded with unwanted messages from marketers and debt collectors.
In addition, many call blocking apps are unable to block these ringless robocalls.
Here are the statements from the three attorneys general:
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman
New Yorkers are already the victims of countless unwanted phone solicitations. The federal government has a basic responsibility to protect American consumers. That certainly doesn’t mean making it even easier for companies to spam them with costly, unsolicited, ringless robocalls.
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey
Massachusetts residents already face a constant barrage of harassing, intrusive and unwanted robocalls. Granting companies a free pass to push ringless voice messages to consumers’ phones just adds more robocalls and causes significant financial harm to those who are charged for checking their messages.
Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear
Protecting Kentuckians from the constant barrage of unwanted scam and robocalls is an ongoing priority of my office. We must strengthen the protections to our citizens, not clear the way for costly, unwanted calls.
How to avoid listening to unwanted voicemails
To prevent having to listen to any unwanted voicemails you receive, you may want to consider signing up for Visual Voicemail from your wireless provider.
The subscription service, which usually costs $2.99 a month, transcribes voicemails to text so you can preview them.
Listen to Clark discuss this issue on The Clark Howard Show Podcast here.