FCC DISHES OUT THE LARGEST FINE YET, $300,000,000.00 Fine Against An Illegal Robocall Auto Warranty Operation

Another day, another FCC enforcement! And this is the largest fine the FCC has EVER issued, $299,997,000, DANG! And just who is at the receiving end of this insane fine? The operators of a massive international auto warranty scam enterprise according to the FCC. The enforcement action was announced at today’s FCC open meeting followed by a press release.

So what exactly caught the FCC’s attention? The international network has been operating for some time and in 2018 two of the named members were placed on a lifetime ban from telemarketing activities. Last year the FCC directed all US service providers to stop carrying the traffic of the known companies at issue, Sumco Panama, Virtual Telecom, Davis Telecom, Geist Telecom, Fugle Telecom, Tech Direct, Mobi Telecom, and Posting Express. This alone provided a 99% reduction in illegal activities. A more recent scam that was noted in the press release was one that within a three-month period in 2021 placed more than five BILLION robocalls to more than five hundred MILLION consumers all while cycling through over one MILLION phone numbers used to contact consumers.

Violations that were noted are as follows:

  • pre-recorded voice calls to mobile phones without prior express consent,
  • placing telemarketing calls without written consent
  • dialing numbers included on the National Do Not Call Registry
  • failing to identify the caller at the start of the message
  • failing to provide a call-back number that allowed consumers to opt out of future calls
  • violated spoofing laws by using misleading caller ID to disguise the enterprise’s role

FCC’s Enforcement Bureau Chief Loyaan A. Egal is quoted as saying “We take seriously our responsibility to protect consumers and the integrity of U.S. communications networks from the onslaught of these types of pernicious calls. I want to thank the Enforcement Bureau’s Telecommunications Consumers Division for its groundbreaking work on this case, and we will continue to work with our federal and state partners to hold these entities and others engaged in similar conduct accountable.”

I did find an interesting bit of detail that was provided, the FCC had issued a fine and an opportunity for the associated parties to respond and they stayed silent in the matter. If you take anything away from this do not ghost a federal agency. If you find yourself at the end of a state AG’s office or a federal agency, seek counsel, not silence or you too may be paying the big bucks

It was also announced that Hawaii and New Mexico’s state Attorney Generals have also signed on the FCC’s Robocall Response Team rounding out the membership to forty-six states, DC, and Guam.


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