We Are Calling About Your Record-Breaking Fine – FCC Proposes $300M Fine Against Auto Warranty Scam Robocaller
On December 21, 2022, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposed a record-breaking $299,997,000 fine against the largest robocall operation investigated by the FCC via a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) against Sumco Panama SA, Sumco Panama USA, Virtual Telecom kft, Virtual Telecom Inc., Davis Telecom Inc., Geist Telecom LLC, Fugle Telecom LLC, Tech Direct LLC, Mobi Telecom LLC, and Posting Express Inc. (FCC 22-99). The NAL alleges alleged spoofing and robocalling violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), Truth in Caller ID Act, and TRACED Act. And, the NAL builds on the FCC’s July 2022 direction that all US-based voice service providers to “cease carrying specified traffic related to the auto warranty scam robocalls,” leading to a 99% drop in such call volume.
Since 2018, the robocall scheme—run by Roy Cox, Jr. and Michael Aaron Jones—made “billions of apparently illegal robocalls via their Sumco Panama company, other domestic and foreign entities, and a host of international cohorts located in Panama and Hungary,” violating federal anti-robocalling and spoofing laws. Just between January and March 2021, the scheme made more than five billion robocalls (enough to call each person in the US 15 times) to a half a billion numbers via pre-recorded voice calls to consumers “to press consumers to speak to a ‘warranty specialist’ about extending or reinstating their car’s warranty.” Instead, the scheme “was designed to sell vehicle service contracts that were deceptively marketed as car warranties.”
The proposed fine is the largest in the FCC’s history because of “egregious violations and thus deserved a substantially escalated proposed fine.” For example, the FCC noted that consumers described the calls as “incessant” and “harassment;” health care workers were called during the COVID-19 pandemic; and hospital numbers were spoofed, “tying up the phone lines of vital public safety institutions.”
NEED HELP WITH ROBOCALL MITIGATION, COMPLIANCE AND LITIGATION SUPPORT/DEFENSE AGAINST BUSINESS & LEGAL CHALLENGES?
The CommLaw Group Can Help!
Given the complexity and evolving nature of the FCC’s rules, regulations and industry policies & procedures around Robocall Mitigation and Compliance issues (e.g., Stir/Shaken, TRACED Act, FCC Rules & Regulations, US Telecom Industry group, ATIS, NECA, VoIP Numbering Waivers, Know Your Customer and the private sector ecosystem), as well as the increased risk of business disputes, consumer protection enforcement by state attorneys general, and even civil litigation, and anticipating the potential torrent of client questions and concerns, The CommLaw Group formed a “Robocall Mitigation Response Team” to help clients (old and new) tackle their unique responsibilities.
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