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#PR: Score One for the FCC
By: Gerard E. Mayers
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Earlier this week, CNN's Money website reported on what might be the largest fine ever imposed on an organization for violations of “Do Not Call” laws. Companies that telemarket have to comply when consumers request “Please take me off your call list.” As we are all well aware, unsolicited robocalls and telemarketing calls are perhaps one of the most frustrating and annoying calls anyone can receive.

Wireless carrier Sprint has apparently not gotten the message when it comes to “Do Not Call” requests. The FCC slapped a $7.5 million dollar fine on Sprint for “failing to honor requests from consumers to opt out of phone and text-message marketing campaigns” according to the CNN article. Additionally, Sprint must “set up a compliance program and provide regular reports to regulators for the next two years.” (Click here for complete story.)

The fine comes on the heels of a case where Sprint was fined back in 2011 for similar violations.

The CNN article noted FCC enforcement chief Travis LeBlanc as saying: “When a consumer tells a company to stop calling or texting with promotional pitches, that request must be honored.” A link in the same article told about fines levied by the FCC against a Republican-linked robocall firm. Apparently, it is illegal “to place robocalls to cell phones except in limited circumstances: when the calls are made for emergency purposes, or when they're made with the prior consent of the recipient.” In that related article, the FCC enforcement chief noted: “[The commission is] committed to protecting consumers from harassing, intrusive, and unwanted robocalls to cell phones, smart phones, and other mobile devices."

With regards to the Sprint fine, the wireless communications carrier is not really sweating it. The CNN piece noted “the company brought in $8.9 billion in sales in the first three months of this year alone.”

While you and I might rejoice in the fine against a robocall firm, the Sprint matter is something else entirely. The company is one of the major suppliers of wireless and mobile communications; this news could be seen as bad PR. It will be interesting to see what Sprint does to polish up its image with consumers and how it complies with the regulatory portion of the fine settlement.


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About the Author
Gerard E. "Gerry" Mayers writes about PR and other relevant topics for PR professionals. A former PR manager for Sensor Products, Inc. (currently based in Madison, NJ), he lives in Milford, NJ.
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