For a while, failure to pay per-call compensation to payphone owners was as much of an enforcement focus as is failure to pay the Universal Service Fund today. The FCC resolved one of its legacy cases this week, agreeing to a settlement with prepaid card provider Compass, Inc. d/b/a Compass Global Inc. Notably, the Bureau settled the $466,000 NAL for $20,000 based in part on an inability to pay.
The Compass Global proceeding dates back to 2006, when the FCC released a Notice of Apparent Liability proposing a fine of $466,000. Post NAL, Compass Global hired FCC counsel and presented, in the Bureau’s words "significantly more detail about the Company’s operations, other unique circumstances and its efforts to comply with the Commission’s payphone compensation rules …"
The Consent Decree settles the NAL for $20,000 (which is paid over six months). This was based in part on "certified financial information" submitted by the company a few months ago to document its inability to pay a large forfeiture.
In addition to the settlement amount, Compass Global agreed to a compliance plan in which, among other things, it must report to the Commission instances of non-compliance with the payphone compensation rules. Further, Compass Global agreed that it is a "completing carrier" for payphone compensation purposes.