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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of ) File No. EB- 06-TC-120
The Hot Lead LLC ) NAL/Acct. No. 200732170072
d/b/a The Hot Lead Company ) FRN: 0016773533
Adopted: March 14, 2008 Released: March 19, 2008
By the Commission:
1. In this Forfeiture Order ("Order"), we issue a monetary forfeiture in
the amount of $2,591,500 against The Hot Lead LLC ("Hot Lead" or
"Company") for willful or repeated violations of section 227 of the
Communications Act of 1934, as amended, ("Act") and the Commission's
related rules and orders, by delivering at least 417 unsolicited
advertisements to the telephone facsimile machines of at least 149
2. This Forfeiture Order arises from two distinct Notices of Apparent
Liability that were issued against Hot Lead. The facts and circumstances
surrounding these cases are set forth in the Commission's Notices of
Apparent Liability for Forfeiture and need not be reiterated at length.
3. Section 227(b)(1)(C) of the Act makes it "unlawful for any person
within the United States, or any person outside the United States if the
recipient is within the United States . . . to use any telephone facsimile
machine, computer, or other device to send, to a telephone facsimile
machine, an unsolicited advertisement." The term "unsolicited
advertisement" is defined in the Act and the Commission's rules as "any
material advertising the commercial availability or quality of any
property, goods, or services which is transmitted to any person without
that person's prior express invitation or permission in writing or
otherwise." Under the Commission's rules, an "established business
relationship" exception permits a party to deliver a message to a consumer
if the sender has an established business relationship with the recipient
and the sender obtained the number of the facsimile machine through the
voluntary communication by the recipient, directly to the sender, within
the context of the established business relationship, or through a
directory, advertisement, or a site on the Internet to which the recipient
voluntarily agreed to make available its facsimile number for public
4. On May 5, 2006, in response to one or more consumer complaints alleging
that Hot Lead had faxed unsolicited advertisements, the Enforcement Bureau
("Bureau") issued a citation to Hot Lead, pursuant to section 503(b)(5) of
the Act. The Bureau cited Hot Lead for using a telephone facsimile
machine, computer, or other device, to send unsolicited advertisements, in
violation of section 227 of the Act and the Commission's related rules and
orders. The citation, which was served by certified mail, return receipt
requested, warned Hot Lead that subsequent violations could result in the
imposition of monetary forfeitures of up to $11,000 per violation, and
included a copy of the consumer complaints that formed the basis of the
citation. The citation informed Hot Lead that within thirty (30) days of
the date of the citation, it could either request an interview with
Commission staff, or could provide a written statement responding to the
citation. Hot Lead did not request an interview or otherwise respond to
5. Following the issuance of the citation, the Commission received at
least 149 complaints from consumers alleging that Hot Lead faxed at least
417 unsolicited advertisements to them. These violations, which occurred
after the Bureau's citation, resulted in the issuance of two Notices of
Apparent Liability for Forfeiture against Hot Lead on August 14, 2007, in
the amount of $2,168,500 and on December 26, 2007, in the amount of
$423,000. The NALs ordered Hot Lead to either pay the proposed forfeiture
amounts within thirty (30) days or submit evidence or arguments in
response to the NALs to show that no forfeitures should be imposed or that
some lesser amounts should be assessed. Hot Lead did not respond to the
NALs or pay the proposed forfeiture amounts.
6. Section 503(b) of the Act authorizes the Commission to assess a
forfeiture of up to $11,000 for each violation of the Act or of any rule,
regulation, or order issued by the Commission under the Act by a
non-common carrier or other entity not specifically designated in section
503 of the Act. In exercising such authority, we are to take into account
"the nature, circumstances, extent, and gravity of the violation and, with
respect to the violator, the degree of culpability, any history of prior
offenses, ability to pay, and such other matters as justice may require."
7. Although the Commission's Forfeiture Policy Statement does not
establish a base forfeiture amount for violating the prohibition against
using a telephone facsimile machine to send unsolicited advertisements,
the Commission has previously considered $4,500 per unsolicited fax
advertisement to be an appropriate base amount. We apply that base amount
to each of 287 of the apparent violations. In addition, where the consumer
requests the company to stop sending facsimile messages, and the company
continues to send them, the Commission has previously considered $10,000
per unsolicited fax advertisement as the appropriate forfeiture for such
egregious violations. Here, 40 consumers specifically requested that Hot
Lead cease sending facsimiles. Notwithstanding these requests, an
additional 130 facsimiles were sent to these consumers. Thus, we apply the
$10,000 amount to each of 130 of the apparent violations.
8. Hot Lead did not respond to the NALs or pay the proposed forfeiture
amounts. Hot Lead has failed to identify facts or circumstances to
persuade us that there is a basis for modifying the proposed forfeitures,
and we are not aware of any further mitigating circumstances sufficient to
warrant a reduction of the forfeiture penalties. For these reasons, and
based on the information before us, we hereby impose a total forfeiture of
$2,591,500 for Hot Lead's willful or repeated violation of section 227 of
the Act and the Commission's related rules and orders as set forth in the
IV. ORDERING CLAUSES
9.. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED, pursuant to section 503(b) of the
Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. S:503(b), and section
1.80(f)(4) of the Commission's rules, 47 C.F.R. S:1.80(f)(4), that The Hot
Lead LLC IS LIABLE FOR A MONETARY FORFEITURE to the United States
Government the sum of $2,591,500 for willfully and repeatedly violating
section 227(b)(1)(c) of the Communications Act, 47 U.S.C. S:227(b)(1)(c),
section 64.1200(a)(3) of the Commission's rules, 47 C.F.R.
S:64.1200(a)(3), and the related orders described in the paragraphs above.
10. Payment of the forfeiture shall be made in the manner provided for in
section 1.80 of the Commission's rules within thirty (30) days of the
release of this Order. If the forfeiture is not paid within the period
specified, the case may be referred to the Department of Justice for
collection pursuant to section 504(a) of the Act. Payment of the
forfeiture must be made by check or similar instrument, payable to the
order of the Federal Communications Commission. The payment must include
the NAL/Account Number and FRN Number referenced above. Payment by check
or money order may be mailed to Federal Communications Commission, P.O.
Box 979088, St. Louis, MO 63197-9000. Payment by overnight mail may be
sent to U.S. Bank - Government Lockbox #979088, SL-MO-C2-GL, 1005
Convention Plaza, St. Louis, MO 63101. Payment[s] by wire transfer may be
made to ABA Number 021030004, receiving bank TREAS/NYC, and account number
27000001. For payment by credit card, an FCC Form 159 (Remittance Advice)
must be submitted. When completing the FCC Form 159, enter the
NAL/Account number in block number 23A (call sign/other ID), and enter the
letters "FORF" in block number 24A (payment type code). Requests for full
payment under an installment plan should be sent to: Chief Financial
Officer -- Financial Operations, 445 12th Street, S.W., Room 1-A625,
Washington, D.C. 20554. Please contact the Financial Operations Group
Help Desk at 1-877-480-3201 or Email: ARINQUIRIES@fcc.gov with any
questions regarding payment procedures.
11. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that a copy of the Forfeiture Order shall be
sent by first class mail and certified mail return receipt requested to
The Hot Lead LLC, 16901 Dallas Parkway, Addison, Texas 75001 and The Hot
Lead, LLC, 1400 Preston Road #300, Plano, Texas 75903.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Marlene H. Dortch
See 47 U.S.C. S: 503(b)(1). The Commission has the authority under this
section of the Act to assess a forfeiture against any person who has
"willfully or repeatedly failed to comply with any of the provisions of
this Act or of any rule, regulation, or order issued by the Commission
under this Act ...."; see also 47 U.S.C. S: 503(b)(5) (stating that the
Commission has the authority under this section of the Act to assess a
forfeiture penalty against any person who does not hold a license, permit,
certificate or other authorization issued by the Commission or an
applicant for any of those listed instrumentalities so long as such
person: (A) is first issued a citation of the violation charged; (B) is
given a reasonable opportunity for a personal interview with an official
of the Commission, at the field office of the Commission nearest to the
person's place of residence; and (C) subsequently engages in conduct of
the type described in the citation).
The Hot Lead LLC, Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, 22 FCC Rcd
15924 (2007); and The Hot Lead LLC, Notice of Apparent Liability for
Forfeiture, FCC 07-229 (December 26, 2007) (collectively "NALs").
47 U.S.C. S: 227(b)(1)(C); 47 C.F.R. S: 64.1200(a)(3).
See 47 U.S.C. S:227(a)(4); 47 C.F.R. S:64.1200 (f)(13).
An "established business relationship" is defined as a prior or existing
relationship formed by a voluntary two-way communication "with or without
an exchange of consideration, on the basis of an inquiry, application,
purchase or transaction by the business or residential subscriber
regarding products or services offered by such person or entity, which
relationship has not been previously terminated by either party." 47
C.F.R. S: 64.1200(f)(5).
See 47 U.S.C. S: 227(b)(1)(C); 47 C.F.R. S: 64.1200(a)(3)(i), (ii).
Citation from Kurt A. Schroeder, Deputy Chief, Telecommunications
Consumers Division, Enforcement Bureau, File No. EB-06-TC-120 issued to
Hot Lead LLC on May 5, 2006.
See 47 U.S.C. S: 503(b)(5) (authorizing the Commission to issue citations
to persons who do not hold a license, permit, certificate or other
authorization issued by the Commission or an applicant for any of those
listed instrumentalities for violations of the Act or of the Commission's
rules and orders).
Bureau staff mailed the citation to 16901 Dallas Parkway, Addison, Texas
75001 and 1400 Preston Road #300, Plano, Texas 75903.
See n.2 supra; see also 47 U.S.C. S:503(b)(1).
Section 503(b)(2)(C) provides for forfeitures of up to $10,000 for each
violation in cases not covered by subparagraph (A) or (B), which address
forfeitures for violations by licensees and common carriers, among others.
See 47 U.S.C. S: 503(b). In accordance with the inflation adjustment
requirements contained in the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996,
Pub. L. 104-134, Sec. 31001, 110 Stat. 1321, the Commission implemented an
increase of the maximum statutory forfeiture under section 503(b)(2)(C) to
$11,000. See 47 C.F.R. S:1.80(b)(3); Amendment of Section 1.80 of the
Commission's Rules and Adjustment of Forfeiture Maxima to Reflect
Inflation, 15 FCC Rcd 18221 (2000); see also Amendment of Section 1.80(b)
of the Commission's Rules and Adjustment of Forfeiture Maxima to Reflect
Inflation, 19 FCC Rcd 10945 (2004) (this most recent amendment of section
1.80(b) maintained the forfeiture maximum for this type of violator at
See 47 U.S.C. S: 503(b)(2)(D); see also The Commission's Forfeiture Policy
Statement and Amendment of Section 1.80 of the Rules to Incorporate the
Forfeiture Guidelines, Report and Order, 12 FCC Rcd 17087, 17100-01, para.
27 (1997) (Forfeiture Policy Statement), recon. denied, 15 FCC Rcd 303
See Get-Aways, Inc., Notice of Apparent Liability For Forfeiture, 15 FCC
Rcd 1805 (1999); Get-Aways, Inc., Forfeiture Order, 15 FCC Rcd 4843
(2000); see also US Notary, Inc., Notice of Apparent Liability for
Forfeiture, 15 Rcd 16999 (2000); US Notary, Inc., Forfeiture Order, 16 FCC
Rcd 18398 (2001); Tri-Star Marketing, Inc., Notice of Apparent Liability
For Forfeiture, 15 FCC Rcd 11295 (2000); Tri-Star Marketing, Inc.,
Forfeiture Order, 15 FCC Rcd 23198 (2000).
See Carolina Liquidators, Inc., Notice of Apparent Liability for
Forfeiture, 15 FCC 16,837, 16,842 (2000); 21st Century Fax(es) Ltd., AKA
20th Century Fax(es), Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, 15 FCC
Rcd 24,406, 24,411 (2000).
47 U.S.C. S: 504(a).
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Federal Communications Commission FCC 08-79
Federal Communications Commission FCC 08-79