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Fender, FCC Reach Deal on Imported Gear

Marketing of digital RF devices was at issue

Fender Musical Instruments Corp. and the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau have come to an agreement regarding how the company marketed digital RF devices and how it will do so in the future.

Based on a consent decree, Fender will make a voluntary payment of $265,000 to the U.S. Treasury and admits no guilt; in turn, the commission will end its investigation.

The case, which began in June of 2010, involves how the company marketed bass amplifiers, preamplifiers, tuners, wireless mics and audio mixers. Imported digital RF devices are subject to the agency’s equipment verification or declaration of conformity procedures.

FMIC provided information pertaining to imported devices for its Fender and SWR-branded products. FMIC said the newer products are substantially similar to older models that had been previously authorized by the commission, although Fender was not certain about the labeling and user manual language requirements that applied to the new gear.

As part of the agreement, FMIC will designate a compliance officer within 30 days and set up a plan within 60 days to ensure the company complies with the FCC’s equipment marketing rules.

FMIC also agreed to develop and implement an online compliance training program for all OEMs overseas that manufacture FMIC equipment. The company is to report to the commission within 15 days any discoveries of noncompliance and submit regular equipment compliance reports to the agency.

The first installment of its U.S. Treasury payment of $132,500 is due within 30 days.