The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed a major fine against a Florida company for allegedly switching consumers’ designated long-distance carriers without their permission, and then adding additional, unauthorized charges to their telephone bills.
According to a Notice of Apparent Liability issued in early October, the proposed fine stems from an earlier Notice of Inquiry (NOI) issued against Neon Phone Service, an interexchange carrier based in Rockledge, Florida that was authorized to provide domestic and international long distance services. The NOI was based on an investigation by the Commission into numerous complaints issued against Neon with the FCC, state regulatory agencies and the Better Business Bureau, which contended that the company switched consumers’ long-distance carrier without prior authorization and charged for services that were not requested.
Neon requested and received a four-week extension to respond to the queries posed in the NOI. At the end of the extended period, the company requested an additional extension of three months, but failed to provide any of the information requested in the NOI. The Commission denied the request and warned the company that further delays in responding could result in enforcement action. The Notice of Apparent Liability with a proposed fine of $3,963,722 was issued when the company failed to respond to the Commission’s request.