A campaign to end robocalls landed on the front steps of AT&T headquarters in Dallas Tuesday.
Consumers Union, the advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, led a protest outside company offices, demanding AT&T come up with a solution.
“What we'd like to see them do is offer their customers a free and effective tool to block robocalls,” said Tim Marvin of Consumers Union.
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Last year, Marvin and his group began collecting signatures to petition AT&T, Verizon and Century Link to better address the issue. After pushing the issue with the companies, AT&T agreed to a meeting with Marvin and a handful of North Texas-based customers.
"We can't prevent the problem. All we can do is try to clean up the mess afterward, and it's usually after several thousand dollars,” said Paula McDaniel, who joined the group Tuesday.
McDaniel’s mother is an AT&T customer and has regularly received the automated calls from both vendors and scammers.
According to Consumers Union, approximately $350 million is lost every year in phone scams, many of which they said are from robocalls.
“She has been scammed on numerous occasions,” McDaniel explained. “This isn’t working. We know you have the technology. If you can forward a call, you can stop a call.”
There is already at least one tool for consumers on the market-Nomorobo. The robocall blocker was recently picked up by Time Warner Cable, allowing customers to turn the blocker on and off. However, Marvin argues that companies with the resources and technology of a large telecom group should be able to come up with an answer to the problem on their own.
“This is a service that we pay for that we can barely use anymore because we are getting so many robocalls,” he said.
Consumers Union and AT&T executives met for about an hour Tuesday. Marvin felt the meeting was “productive,” however, the company was unable to provide him with a timeline for any potential reforms.
In response to this story, AT&T sent NBC5 a statement.
“Robocalls are an industry-wide issue and we continue to work closely with the government and industry partners to make improvements. We appreciate Consumers Union’s input and will continue our work to help find solutions.”