The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued a record $300 million fine against a network of companies for making illegal robocalls in support of an automotive warranty scam.
According to a Forfeiture Order issued by the Commission in early August, the multi-unit enterprise headed by Roy M. Cox and Aaron Michael Jones made over five billion robocalls to more than 500 million phone numbers during a three-month span in 2021. The calls prompted recipients to “Press 1” to speak with a “warranty specialist” about either extending a current auto warranty or reinstating an expired one. Call recipients who complied were ultimately connected with a “client sales agent,” who would push the consumer to purchase a new vehicle service contract.
The robocall campaign violated several robocall prohibitions, including making pre-recorded voice calls to mobile phones without consent, placing telemarketing calls without written consent, and dialing numbers listed on the National Do Not Call Registry. The robocalls also violated current spoofing laws by using a misleading call ID to get consumers to answer the call.
The FCC says that the Forfeiture Order follows the issuance of a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture in December 2022, to which the enterprise never responded. Should the enterprise now fail to pay the $299,997,000 fine, the case will be turned over to the U.S. Department of Justice for collection and further action as necessary.