FCC Proposes $300M Robocalling Fine, Largest Ever

Before the holiday weekend, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposed a record-breaking fine of just under $300 million against an auto warranty scam robocall campaign, the largest robocall operation the FCC says it has ever investigated. The agency asserts that the defendants’ federal anti-robocalling and spoofing law violations were egregious, and thus deserving of the escalated fine.

The agency explained that the operation was run by two individuals, Roy Cox, Jr. and Michael Aaron Jones, who orchestrated a scheme via their company Sumco Panama S.A. and other domestic and foreign entities, including some in Panama and Hungary (Cox/Jones Enterprise), to make more than 5 billion robocalls in a three-month period during 2021. The subject of the pre-recorded calls was auto warranties and they directed consumers to speak to a warranty specialist” about extending or reinstating their car’s warranty.

In February 2021, the Ohio State Attorney General’s Office told the FCC that it was investigating the Cox/Jones Enterprise’s robocalling scheme, after which the FCC’s investigative arm also took a look.

According to the FCC’s Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL), the enterprise was massive, with the number of calls made during the aforementioned three month period allegedly representing enough to dial every person in the United States 15 times. Some consumers reported receiving multiple calls and sometimes several a day, calling the scheme “incessant” and that they felt like “harassment.”

In July, the FCC issued the first ever “K4 Notice” and “N2 Order,” directing U.S.-based voice service providers to cease carrying traffic related to the auto warranty scam robocalls. The actions were effective, the FCC claims, resulting in a 99% drop in the volume of such calls since June, according to RoboKiller.

The respondents will have a chance to counter the allegations and the FCC will consider their submission, evidence, and legal arguments before taking final action on the matter.