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Equipment Manufacturer Faces $18,000 Fine

FCC cites Inter Tech for verification and online information issues

A manufacturer of FM gear faces FCC fines involving equipment verification and alleged misinformation on its Web site.

According to Mitchell Lazarus of law firm Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth — which discussed the proposed fines in its latest online newsletter — the case “concerns ‘verified’ equipment, which makes it a rarity in FCC jurisprudence. Verification is a form of equipment authorization that does not require any filings with the FCC, and so it is not often a target of enforcement. This time, though, the FCC became interested when it checked the Web site of Inter Tech FM, which manufactures 15 models of FM broadcast transmitters.” Lazarus speculated that a competitor might have pointed the FCC in that direction.

When asked by the FCC, Inter Tech, a company based in Illinois that markets various radio and TV broadcast products, was unable to produce its copies of paperwork that the verification procedure requires, the commission ruled. It also told the FCC it had discontinued marketing a particular model even though the model was still being promoted on the Web site.

The FCC proposed a fine of $7,000 for the verification violations and $11,000 for misinformation about the model on the site. “Inter Tech was lucky,” Lazarus opined in his analysis. “The FCC could have imposed the $7,000 fine separately for each of the 15 different models. It might also have started criminal proceedings for lying to federal officials.” The company has 30 days to appeal. Read the FCC’s summary here.

In a separate case also this week, Lazarus wrote, the FCC cited Proxim, a company that manufactures wireless products, for shipping 5,500 wireless access points labeled with the wrong FCC ID number. “Some of the units also failed to comply with a U.S. technical rule, although they may be lawful in other countries. The result is a proposed fine of $11,000.”

Drawing a conclusion, Lazarus wrote: “One can always learn from others’ misfortune. All of these violations — probably even the Proxim technical noncompliance — resulted from paperwork slip-ups. Every company that deals in FCC-regulated products, whether as manufacturer, importer, distributor or retailer, needs a system in place to track FCC labeling and record-keeping requirements. If nobody has checked your company’s system lately, now is a good time.”