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FCC Issues $12M Fine to Purple Communications

May 2014 — The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture against Purple Communications proposing a forfeiture of almost $12 million for abuse of the Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) Fund. TRS is a service for individuals with speech and hearing disabilities, providing them with free accessible telephone services. Due to past abuse of TRS, the FCC implemented new measures to help prevent fraud, waste and abuse by users and providers alike.  In 2011, the FCC Enforcement Bureau began investigating Purple Communications to ensure the company was in compliance with TRS rules. Through the investigation, the Bureau found Purple Communications to have repeatedly violated TRS rules by failing to verify new user information. Accordingly, the Bureau found that over 40,000 new TRS users registered by Purple Communications had names “that appeared to be gibberish, random keystrokes, vulgarities, or otherwise self-evidently false names.” The Bureau also found that Purple Communications repeatedly submitted calls made under false names for reimbursement. In accordance with the Rules and the iTRS Numbering Orders, the FCC determined that Purple Communications was liable for forfeiture for willfully and repeatedly violating TRS rules.

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The Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Wireless Technologies is sponsored by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under grant number 90RE5007-01-00. The opinions contained in this website are those of the Wireless RERC and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or NIDILRR.