The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed a forfeiture penalty of over $800,000 against T-Mobile USA for failing to offer their customers the required number of hearing aid-compatible (HAC) handsets.
In a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture issued in April 2012, the Commission proposed the fine for what it calls the company’s willful and repeated violation of the Commission’s rules during 2009 and 2010.
Under those rules, so-called Tier 1 service providers are required to ensure that a minimum number of wireless phones that meet or exceed the minimum rating for hearing aid compatibility are offered to consumers. The requirements regarding the number of HAC handsets were initially implemented in February 2009, and were gradually increased over the next 22 months (through December 2010). Service providers were required to file status reports with the FCC during that period verifying compliance with the requirements.
In its Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, the Commission cited data submitted by T-Mobile in mandatory filings regarding the number of HAC handsets available for sale to consumers.