Yesterday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) handed down a $240,000 forfeiture order against IT Connect, Inc., a company that the FCC found had violated the prohibition on brokering toll-free telephone numbers. In its order, the FCC confirmed that it is unlawful for private entities to sell toll-free numbers for a fee, and it applied the maximum penalty permissible for the violations.
In 2007, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau found that IT Connect had warehoused, hoarded, and brokered toll-free numbers, and warned against future violations. Subsequently, the FCC received complaints that IT Connect had attempted to broker the sale of 15 vanity toll-free numbers. The FCC issued a Notice of Apparent Liability against IT Connect for this conduct in July 2012. Although IT Connect sought multiple extensions of time to respond to the FCC, it ultimately failed to submit a substantive response. The FCC therefore proceeded with its investigation, concluded that IT Connect had committed the violations, and imposed the maximum forfeiture of $240,000 on IT Connect. The order also imposes personal liability on IT Connect’s CEO.