Pursuant to Pub. Util. Code § 2891.2, telephone corporations must annually notify their subscribers that use of an "800" or "900" telephone number may result in the disclosure of a subscriber's telephone number to the called party. The documents submitted with SBC California's response indicate that it is in compliance with Section 2891.2.
Posselt alleged that SBC California did not fully inform him that Caller ID Complete Blocking service did not prevent his telephone number from being revealed to called parties at "800" and "900" numbers. Regarding the service, the bottom of the telephone bill that he attached to his complaint states:
Caller ID Complete Blocking prevents your name and number from being sent to the person or business you are calling. To display your name and number on a call, press *82 (1182 on rotary phones) before dialing.
However, SBC California submitted copies of its quarterly newsletter and annual bill insert that notify customers of the numbers that the Complete Blocking service does not mask from automatic number identification (ANI).4
While Posselt has indicated that he does not remember either being told about the exception numbers by SBC California's customer service representatives or having received anything included with a telephone bill detailing the limitations of the service, he has also indicated that he tends not to read the additional pages surrounding the actual bill. Moreover, he asserts that it is the specific name of the service upon which he has relied and by which he has felt most deceived. He maintains that by calling the service Complete Blocking, SBC is offering a customer the ability to keep the caller's number and other personal data5 concealed from all called parties.
SBC California has stated that there is no present capability to block the communication of the calling party number from a called party's automatic number identification process inherent in 800 series and 900 series telephone numbers.6 It also indicates that Caller ID Complete Blocking is titled as such to distinguish it from Caller ID Selective Blocking service. SBC Tariff A184.108.40.206C.19 and 21 state:
Selective Blocking allows customers to block the delivery of their name and telephone number on a per call basis. Customers may control the display of their name and telephone number by dialing *67 (1167 on rotary dial phones) before dialing the telephone number they are calling.
Complete Blocking (* 82) allows customers to have the Utility block the delivery of their name and telephone number on all calls except those in which they elected to have their name and number delivered. Complete Blocking will have the capability of allowing customers to unblock their name and telephone number on a call by call basis by dialing (*82) (1182 on rotary phones) before dialing the telephone number of the called party. By dialing *82, the presentation status is changed to public for that specific call.7
When either blocking option is used, both the name and telephone number of the calling party will not be identified when using Caller ID or any feature with a pre-selected list capability. Name and number blocking do not operate separately. Blocking does not affect the operation of Call Trace, 9-1-1, 800 or 900 service.8
According to the tariff, Complete Blocking prevents the transmission of a subscriber's telephone number on all phone calls (except 911 and national 800, 888 and 877 number calls) from that number,9 while Selective Blocking enables the subscriber to decide with each outgoing call whether the subscriber wishes to prevent transmission by pressing *6710 before dialing. While it appears that a customer, uninformed about the characteristics of Caller ID Complete Blocking service and/or relying on the former brief description on the bill, could assume that the service would block a telephone number from any and all numbers called, the widely distributed literature describing the service11 details the limits of the blocking.
The Commission-mandated newsletter12 advises customers that when they call 900 numbers or 800 and 888 toll-free numbers, the called party may be able to receive and display telephone numbers through ANI. With ANI, there is no way to prevent a called party from identifying customers' numbers during calls. Thus, the newsletter suggests that customers wanting to keep their phone numbers private should use a company's regular toll number instead of the toll-free number, call from a payphone, or if using the toll-free number, request that the company not give the caller's number to phone solicitors.
We find no support for the allegation that SBC California intended to mislead or confuse customers with the name of the service. Consequently, we deny this complaint, and dismiss it for failure to set forth a cause of action or violation of a statute, Commission rule, order, or regulation. At the same time, we urge SBC California to continue to be as informative as it can about the limitations of caller identification blocking.4 The technical term for caller identification. 5 Such as, name and address. 6 Prehearing Conference Transcript at 9, lines 20-25 (February 7, 2003). 7 SBC Network and Exchange Services Tariff A.5.4.10C.19. 8 SBC Network and Exchange Services Tariff A.5.4.10C. 21. 9 The subscriber may remove the blocking by pressing *82 (or dialing 1182 on a rotary phone) before dialing a number. 10 Alternatively, the customer may dial 1167 on a rotary phone. Selective Blocking also cannot be utilized with 911, or national 800, 888 and 877 phone numbers. 11 Documentation supplied with the bill and separately, such as the SBC website. Official Notice is given to the Caller ID Blocking descriptions that appear under the fall 2003 "Terms and Conditions" section of the SBC California residential bill and state: "CALLER ID SELECTIVE & COMPLETE BLOCKING: Caller ID sends your name and telephone number to the person or business being called. Selective Call Blocking service allows you to block this information from being displayed to the party being called by dialing *67 (1167 from rotary phone) before placing the call. Complete Blocking may be ordered to block your name and number from being displayed on all out-going calls, except those that you elect not to be blocked. With this option, calls may be unblocked by dialing *82 (1182 from rotary phones). Calls to 911, 800 or 900 numbers will not be blocked. There is no monthly service charge for either of the services." 12 Attached to SBC's Answer as Exhibit C: SBC Pacific Bell Connections, Fall 2002.