Monday, January 25, 2010

FCC Issues 7-Eleven a Citation

The FCC has issued warnings to several companies for failing to file Hearing Aid Compatibility (HAC) Reports. The agency requires telephone equipment manufacturers to make cellphone handsets available that are compatible with hearing aid devices. The Commission also requires phone manufacturers and service providers to submit HAC reports on January 15 of each year, detailing their compliance with the handset stocking rules.

Firefly Mobile Communications is exempt from complying with the handset stocking rules because it sold so few of them. Even so, Firefly was not exempt from the requirement to file an HAC report, so the Bureau issued it a citation, threatening to impose a fine if it fails to file the report again.

7-Eleven also received a citation because it offers cellphones with prepaid minutes but did not file an HAC report last year either. The company told the FCC that it is not phone manufacturer or service provider and should not be subject to the HAC reporting requirement.

If the ruling stands, any company selling handsets will be subject to fine for not making a HAC report, contributing to the Universal Service Fund, filing quarterly 499Q’s, and complying with all other regulations applicable under Title II of the Act to service providers... just as Verizon, AT&T and other companies you typically think of as telecommunications companies.

Chances are good that many outlets will just stop selling the phone rather than follow through with meeting the regulation requirements.