The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed its largest-ever financial penalty against a consortium of domestic and foreign companies in connection with a vast auto warranty scam campaign involving billions of illegal robocalls.
In a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, the FCC has proposed a fine of $299,997,000 against Roy Cox, Jr., Michael Aaron Jones, and their 10 entities based in Panama and Hungary for making more than five billion robocalls to half a billion phone numbers during a three-month span in early 2021. The calls involved pre-recorded voice messages to pressure consumers to speak with a “warranty specialist” about extending or reinstating their vehicle’s warranty.
The Cox/Jones Enterprise has been on the FCC’s radar since at least 2018 when the entities ran what the Commission calls a “complex robocall sales lead generation scheme,” designed to sell vehicle service contracts deceptively marketed at car warranties. But the significant spike in robocall activities in early 2021 led the FCC to issue its first ever “K4 Notice” and “N2 Order” that prohibited all U.S.-based voice service providers from continuing to carry robocall traffic originating from the identified entities.
The FCC estimates that the sheer volume of robocalls from the Cox/Jones Enterprise during early 2021 would have been sufficient for each person in the U.S. to have been called 15 times during the three months of its operation.