“You have to dig deeper.”
Those are YouMail CEO Alex Quilici’s words explaining why the superficial application of his company’s Robocall Index data is more than just a little misleading.
The Robocall Index is the most cited robocall metric in the nation. Here’s a short list of recent press mentions (in no particular order):
- Business Insider
- USA Today
- The New York Times
- The Washington Post
- Slate Magazine
- Money Magazine
- Arizona Daily Sun
- Casper Star Tribune
- Idaho Statesman
- Huffington Post
- WWBT NBC 12
- Fox 61 (CT)
- New Hampshire Business Review
- 24/7 Wall Street
Most importantly for our purposes, however, the Index is cited exclusively by the National Consumer Law Center to support a narrative being peddled in the halls of Congress that legitimate American businesses are to blame for the scourge of robocalls in this nation.
Why does that matter? Because the NCLC wants Congress to broaden the TCPA and enhance the private right of action against these businesses–creating even more abusive litigation to the detriment of anyone who isn’t a “consumer right’s” attorney.
We think that’s a bad thing, and we’re trying to show everyone how bad data–or at least a superficial understanding of otherwise fine data– is being used to (unintentionally?) mislead law and policy makers in this space.
Indeed, according to the NCLC’s testimony to Congress, 19 of the top 20 robocallers in the country are debt collectors. Their source? You Mail’s Robocall Index.
But as You Mail’s CEO tells the SPB’s Unprecedented podcast it is important to be precise with your definitions. The Robocall Radar only tracks high volume calling patterns–it does not purport to know how calls are placed, whether the calls are unwanted or wanted, lawful or unlawful, consented to or unconsented to.
You Mail CEO, Alex Quilici
So when the NCLC says creditors and debt collectors are the worst robocallers in the country it does so by citing to data that includes things like low balance reminders, ATM withdrawal confirmations and fraud alerts. Huh?
Luckily, a second robocall index exists–one that seeks to track unwanted calls. That index is called the Robocall Radar and is published by a company called Hiya. And according to that index, only 2% of unwanted calls are debt collection calls. See for yourself:
Recognizing that only 2% of unwanted calls are coming from debt collectors, it seems absurd that NCLC would simply lob the Robocall Index at Congress and cast legitimate services and creditors as the villainous robocallers tying up everyone’s phone lines. That is just not the case and–frankly–these misleading arguments make it far more difficult to find a solution to the real problem.
Indeed, false narratives about the size, scope and direction of the robocall epidemic mask the real problem, making it difficult to detect and solve.
To get to the bottom of all of this– and to compare and contrast the methodologies of the two top robocall trackers in the world in the hopes of uncovering truth– we invited Alex Algard–CEO of Hiya–to join the Unprecedented podcast along with Alex Quilici. Guess what–he accepted!
So, in a remarkable first-of-its-kind exchange, the CEOs of the two most oft-cited robocall tracking indexes in the nation got together with the Czar and hashed out what a robocall really is, how tracking consumer behavior can help us better understand the scale and appropriate response tot he robocall epidemic, and how advances in technology and sophisticated algorithms are being leveraged in the private sector to bring an end to this catastrophic robocall rise.
Before we get to that incredible dialog, the SPB TCPA defense team breaks down all of the key TCPA developments for the week, including a big recent arbitration win, a massive TCPA certification decision that is truly groundbreaking, and the latest TCPA ATDS ruling finding that dialing from a list of numbers is sufficient to state a claim.
If you care about the pursuit of robocall truth and quality fact-checking of advocacy before Congress on critical policy issues, you absolutely cannot miss this episode of the Unprecedented podcast. Available here.
Here to serve. Enjoy!