While agreeing that the FCC properly held two pre-paid calling card operators responsible for compensation owed to payphone service providers (PSPs), a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the agency acted “arbitrarily and capriciously” in accepting a pair of late-filed PSP complaints that resulted in the FCC levying damages in excess of $2.7 million plus interest. The case at hand pits APCC Services, a PSP billing clearinghouse, against prepaid calling card providers Network IP LLC and Network Enhanced Telecom LLP (NET LLP). In 2003, APCC sought reimbursement from Network IP and NET LLP for coin-less payphone calls paid with debit cards. Both providers refused payment on grounds that the debit card companies owed them money. Because Network IP and NET LLC were both facilities based carriers with switching capabilities, however, the FCC determined that both companies were responsible for compensating APCC and its clients for the calls in question. While both calling card operators sought reconsideration of the FCC’s decision, APCC—which had two years in which to submit a formal complaint—submitted two petitions for damages on what the court noted was “the absolutely last day [they] could be timely.” Because the required FCC filing fee was submitted under a single check that was $5.00 short, both complaints were returned to APCC. The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau, however, agreed to accept a late filing of the complaints upon receiving the proper filing fees from APPC—a decision that was contested by Network IP and NET LLP. Although the FCC maintained that strict enforcement of the filing deadline “would unduly conflict with the public interest in ensuring the payment of compensation necessary to promote the widespread deployment of payphone services,” the court overruled the FCC, declaring that, “before the FCC can invoke its good cause exception, it . . . must explain why deviation better serves the public interest and articulate the nature of the special circumstances to prevent discriminatory application.” As such, the court decreed: “ad hoc departures from those rules, even to achieve laudable aims, cannot be sanctioned.”