The FCC proposed a $25,000 fine against a company marketing RF devices for failing to mark its devices with the FCC logo.
Section 2.803 of the FCC’s Rules requires RF devices to meet the FCC’s labelling requirements before going to market. Until recently, Section 18.209(b) of the Commission’s Rules required RF devices authorized under the FCC’s “Declaration of Conformity” procedure to be labeled with the FCC logo.
The FCC initiated an investigation into the company after it received complaints that the company’s fluorescent light ballasts were causing interference. In response to the FCC’s June 2016 Letter of Inquiry (“LOI”), the company responded that the ballasts were compliant with the FCC’s technical standards, but three models of consumer-grade fluorescent light ballasts had not been properly labelled with the FCC logo. The company admitted that it had been selling the mislabeled models for at least eight years.
While the FCC recently updated Section 18.209 to make use of the FCC logo voluntary for some devices, the company’s actions took place while the previous rule was in effect. As a result, the FCC held the company to the earlier requirements and issued an NAL. In the NAL, the FCC stated that—despite being on notice of the violation and discontinuing marketing of one of the three models of non-compliant lights after receiving the LOI in 2016—the company continued marketing two non-compliant models until February of this year.
The FCC’s base fine for such a violation is $7,000. Under its statutory authority to penalize any party that “willfully or repeatedly fails to comply” with the Communications Act or the FCC’s Rules, the FCC proposed that base fine amount for each of the two unauthorized ballast models that the company continued to market following receipt of the LOI. Because of the duration and nature of the violations as well as the billion-dollar company’s ability to pay, the FCC then adjusted the amount upward by an additional $11,000, resulting in a total proposed fine of $25,000.