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                           Before the
               FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
                     Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of                   )
                              )
Carolina Liquidators, Inc.              )    File No. EB-00-TC-
010
                              )
Apparent Liability for Forfeiture       )    NAL/Acct. No. 
X3217-007                          
          NOTICE OF APPARENT LIABILITY FOR FORFEITURE

     Adopted: July 21, 2000         Released: July 25, 2000

By the Commission:

                       I.   INTRODUCTION

     1.   In this  Notice of  Apparent Liability for  Forfeiture 
(NAL),  we  find  that  Carolina   Liquidators,  Inc.  (Carolina 
Liquidators)1  apparently   willfully  or  repeatedly   violated 
section  227  of the  Communications  Act  of 1934,  as  amended 
(Act),  and  the  Commission's  rules  and  orders,  by  sending 
unsolicited  advertisements to telephone  facsimile machines  on 
34 separate  occasions.2  Based on  the facts and  circumstances 
surrounding  these apparent  violations, we  find that  Carolina 
Liquidators is  apparently liable for  forfeiture in the  amount 
of $230,000.3
                        II.  BACKGROUND

     2.   On  July 12,  1999, in  response  to several  consumer 
letters   indicating  that   Carolina   Liquidators  had   faxed 
unsolicited  advertisements  to consumers'  telephone  facsimile 
machines,  the Commission staff  issued a  citation to  Carolina 
Liquidators,  pursuant to section  503(b)(5) of  the Act.4   The 
staff  cited   Carolina  Liquidators   for  allegedly  using   a 
telephone facsimile machine, computer, or other  device, to send 
unsolicited  advertisements   to  another  telephone   facsimile 
machine,  in  violation  of  section 227  of  the  Act  and  the 
Commission's rules  and orders.  The unsolicited  advertisements 
offered  a ``Furniture Auction''  and ``Entire  Showroom Up  For 
Auction.''  The  citation, which the  staff served by  certified 
mail,  return receipt requested,  informed Carolina  Liquidators 
that  subsequent violations could  result in  the imposition  of 
monetary  forfeitures  of  up  to  $11,000   per  violation  and 
included copies  of consumer  letters that  formed the basis  of 
the citation.5  The citation informed  Carolina Liquidators that 
within 21  days of  the date  of the citation,  it could  either 
request  a personal interview  at the  nearest Commission  field 
office, or could  provide a written statement responding  to the 
citation.   The  Commission received  a  signed  return  receipt 
evidencing  Carolina Liquidators'  receipt  of the  citation  on 
July  16, 1999.   Carolina Liquidators  did not  respond to  the 
citation.

     3.   Despite   the  citation's   warning  that   subsequent 
violations   could  result   in  the   imposition  of   monetary 
forfeitures,  the Commission received  several consumer  letters 
stating  that Carolina Liquidators  had continued  to engage  in 
such conduct after  receiving the citation.6 We base  our action 
here on this  information from consumers alleging  that Carolina 
Liquidators  sent unsolicited  advertisements on  or after  July 
16, 1999.7  Although not the basis for  our action, we note that 
the Commission  itself received several  such facsimiles at  its 
Dallas Field Office.8
     4.   The VarTec  Telecom Letter.   Melissa A. Smith,  Esq., 
Attorney  for   VarTec  Telecom,  Inc.  (VarTec),   states  that 
Carolina  Liquidators  faxed 14  unsolicited  advertisements  to 
VarTec from  September 29, 1999 to  April 21, 2000.9  Ms.  Smith 
states  that VarTec  sent Carolina  Liquidators several  letters 
via regular mail  and certified mail requesting that  it refrain 
from  sending additional unsolicited  advertisements to  VarTec.  
Ms.  Smith   states  that  VarTec   sent  letters  to   Carolina 
Liquidators  via regular  mail dated  August 4,  1998, March  3, 
1999,  and  December  14, 1999  and  via  certified  mail  dated 
February  18, 1999  and November  30, 1999.   Ms. Smith  further 
states that  VarTec did  not receive  a response to  any of  its 
letters  but   received  a  signed  return   receipt  evidencing 
Carolina  Liquidators'   receipt  of   the  February  18,   1999 
letter.10   Ms.  Smith  states  that   despite  these  requests, 
Carolina    Liquidators    continued    to    fax    unsolicited 
advertisements to VarTec.11   Ms. Smith states that  neither she 
nor  anyone  else  at  VarTec  ever  gave  Carolina  Liquidators 
permission or  an invitation to  send these advertisements,  and 
that VarTec does  not have an established  business relationship 
with Carolina Liquidators.12     

     5.   The Mica Calfee Letter.  On October  1, 1999, Mr. Mica 
Calfee filed a  letter requesting Commission action  and stating 
that Carolina  Liquidators sent an unsolicited  advertisement to 
his  facsimile   machine.13   Mr.   Calfee  states  that   after 
receiving  the unsolicited  facsimile  on  October 1,  1999,  he 
contacted Carolina Liquidators  on several occasions and  sent a 
registered letter to Carolina Liquidators  informing the company 
that its actions violated the Telephone  Consumer Protection Act 
and the Commission's  rules.  Mr. Calfee further states  that he 
advised  Carolina Liquidators  that  he  planned to  seek  legal 
recourse against  the company.   Mr. Calfee  states that he  did 
not  receive  a  response to  his  communications.   Mr.  Calfee 
states that he  did not give Carolina Liquidators  permission or 
an invitation to  send advertisements to his  facsimile machine, 
and that  he does  not have a  prior business relationship  with 
Carolina Liquidators.

     6.   The Alpha Letter.  Mr. Morris Horn,  Director of Field 
Support,  Alpha  National Technologies  Services,  Inc.  (Alpha) 
states   that   Carolina   Liquidators    sent   3   unsolicited 
advertisements  to Alpha's  facsimile  machine on  September  2, 
1999, September 15,  1999 and October 1, 1999.  Mr.  Horn states 
that he contacted  the Texas Office of the Attorney  General and 
requested  action  against  Carolina   Liquidators.   The  Texas 
Office  of the  Attorney  General sent  Alpha's request  to  the 
Texas Public Utility Commission, which forwarded  the request to 
the FCC.   Mr. Horn states  that neither he  nor anyone else  at 
Alpha    authorized   Carolina   Liquidators    to   send    the 
advertisements  and that  Alpha  does  not have  an  established 
business relationship with Carolina Liquidators.
 
     7.   The  other  faxes.   The  remaining  consumer  letters 
supporting this NAL are factually similar  to the allegations in 
the  consumer letters  described  above.14   In each  case,  the 
consumer  states  that Carolina  Liquidators  used  a  telephone 
facsimile machine  to send an  unsolicited advertisement to  the 
consumer's  telephone  facsimile machine.   In  each  case,  the 
consumer   states  that   Carolina  Liquidators   (a)  was   not 
authorized to send  the unsolicited facsimile to  the consumer's 
fax  machine, and  (b)  does not  have an  established  business 
relationship with the consumer. 
                      III.      DISCUSSION


A.   Violations Evidenced in the Letters.

     8.   Section 227(b)(1)(C)  of the Act prohibits  any person 
from using ``a  telephone facsimile machine, computer,  or other 
device  to send  an  unsolicited  advertisement to  a  telephone 
facsimile machine.''15  An unsolicited advertisement is  defined 
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.''16  The  Commission has  determined, 
however, that an established  business relationship demonstrates 
consent   to    receive   telephone   facsimile    advertisement 
transmissions.17   The mere  distribution  or publication  of  a 
telephone  facsimile  number  does  not   confer  invitation  or 
permission to transmit advertisements to  a particular telephone 
facsimile machine.18 

     9.   As discussed  above, each facsimile transmission  upon 
which this  NAL is  based offers access  to the same  commercial 
service,   a  ``Furniture   Auction.''   We   find  that   these 
facsimiles   clearly   fall  within   the   definition   of   an 
``advertisement.''  Additionally,  Carolina Liquidators  appears 
to  have sent  each  facsimile  transmission without  the  prior 
express invitation or  permission of the recipient.   The record 
indicates  that   none  of  the   consumers  at  issue  had   an 
established  business  relationship with  Carolina  Liquidators.  
The   record  further   indicates   that  Carolina   Liquidators 
continued to  send facsimiles to  one consumer who  specifically 
requested  that   Carolina  Liquidators  refrain  from   sending 
additional  unsolicited facsimiles.  Such  evidence, along  with 
the   consumers'   declarations,  demonstrates   that   Carolina 
Liquidators  did  not  have  any  prior  express  permission  or 
invitation to send the facsimile transmissions.
 
B.   Forfeiture Amount.

     10.  We  conclude  that  Carolina   Liquidators  apparently 
willfully or  repeatedly violated the  Act and the  Commission's 
rules and orders by using a telephone  facsimile machine to send 
unsolicited   advertisements   to  other   telephone   facsimile 
machines.   Carolina Liquidators  apparently did  not cease  its 
unlawful  conduct  even  after the  Commission  staff  issued  a 
citation warning  that it was  engaging in unlawful conduct  and 
could  be  subject  to  monetary   forfeitures.  Accordingly,  a 
proposed  forfeiture is warranted  against Carolina  Liquidators 
for its apparent  willful or repeated violations of  section 227 
of the  Act and of the  Commission's rules and orders  regarding 
the faxing of unsolicited advertisements.  

     11.  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.19  
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.''20

     12.  Although the Commission's Forfeiture  Policy Statement 
does not  establish a base  forfeiture amount for violating  the 
prohibition  on using  a  telephone  facsimile machine  to  send 
unsolicited  advertisements,   we  have  previously   considered 
$4,500 per unsolicited fax advertisement as  an appropriate base 
amount.21   We apply  that base  amount  to each  of  20 of  the 
apparent  violations.  We  find  that  the other  14  violations 
justify   a   higher   proposed    forfeiture   because   VarTec 
specifically   notified  Carolina  Liquidators   to  cease   its 
unlawful conduct and refrain from  faxing additional unsolicited 
advertisements,   but   Carolina   Liquidators   willfully   and 
repeatedly continued to  violate section 227 of the Act  and the 
Commission's  rules and  orders.  We  believe  that assessing  a 
higher forfeiture  amount is warranted  based on the nature  and 
gravity  of the  violations  and the  continued need  to  ensure 
compliance  with section  227 of  the Act  and the  Commission's 
rules and orders.22   For those 14 violations, we  find Carolina 
Liquidators apparently liable in the amount  of $10,000 for each 
such violation.23  This  results in a proposed  total forfeiture 
of $230,000.   Carolina Liquidators  shall have the  opportunity 
to  submit evidence and  arguments in  response to  this NAL  to 
show that  no forfeiture should be  imposed or that some  lesser 
amount should be assessed.24


              IV.  CONCLUSION AND ORDERING CLAUSES

     13.  We   have   determined   that   Carolina   Liquidators 
apparently violated section 227 of the  Act and the Commission's 
rules  and  orders  by  using  a  telephone  facsimile  machine, 
computer,   or  other  device   to  send   the  34   unsolicited 
advertisements  identified above.   We  have further  determined 
that Carolina  Liquidators is apparently liable  for forfeitures 
in the amount of $230,000. 

     14.  Accordingly,  IT  IS  ORDERED,   pursuant  to  section 
503(b)(5) of  the Act,  as amended, 47  U.S.C.  503(b)(5),  and 
section 1.80 of  the Commission's rules, 47 C.F.R.   1.80, that 
Carolina  Liquidators, Inc. IS  HEREBY NOTIFIED  of an  Apparent 
Liability for Forfeiture  in the amount of $230,000  for willful 
or repeated  violations of section  227(b)(1)(C) of the Act,  47 
U.S.C.  227(b)(1)(C), sections  64.1200(a)(3) and 64.1200(f)(5) 
of  the   Commission's  rules,   47  C.F.R.     64.1200(a)(3), 
64.1200(f)(5),  and   the  related   orders  described  in   the 
paragraphs above.

     15.  IT  IS FURTHER ORDERED,  pursuant to  section 1.80  of 
the Commission's  rules, 47  C.F.R.   1.80, that within  thirty 
(30) days of  the release of this Notice,  Carolina Liquidators, 
Inc. SHALL PAY  the full amount of the proposed  forfeiture25 OR 
SHALL  FILE  a  response showing  why  the  proposed  forfeiture 
should not be imposed or should be reduced.

     16.  IT IS  FURTHER ORDERED that a  copy of this Notice  of 
Apparent  Liability for Forfeiture  SHALL BE  SENT by  certified 
mail  to Cory Pierce,  Owner, Carolina  Liquidators, Inc.,  2722 
West Irving Blvd, Irving, Texas 75061.



                         FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION


                         Magalie Roman Salas
                                                             Se-
cretary
_________________________

1    Carolina Liquidators, Inc. is headquartered at 2722 West 
Irving Blvd., Irving, Texas 75061. 
According to Dun & Bradstreet Business Information Report, 
Carolina Liquidators began operations in 1997.  Carolina 
Liquidators is a closely held corporation whose president, Mr. 
Cory Pierce, owns 100% of the capital stock.  See Dun & 
Bradstreet Business Information Report, May 16, 2000.

2    See 47 U.S.C.  227; 47 C.F.R.  64.1200(a)(3); see also 
Rules and Regulations Implementing the Telephone Consumer 
Protection Act of 1991, Report and Order, 7 FCC Rcd 8752, 8779, 
 54  (1995) (TCPA Report and Order) (stating that Section 227 
of the Act prohibits the use of telephone facsimile machines to 
send unsolicited advertisements).   

3    47 U.S.C.  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.  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 is not a 
common carrier so long as (A) such person 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 resident; and (C) subsequently engages in 
conduct of the type described in the citation).  

4    See 47 U.S.C.  503(b)(5) (authorizing the Commission to 
issue citations to non-common carriers for violations of the 
Act or of the Commission's rules and orders).     

5    The following consumer letters requesting Commission 
action were attached to the citation: (1) Julian E. Armstrong, 
Request for Commission Action (April 27, 1999) (stating 
facsimiles were received on a weekly basis from Carolina 
Liquidators); (2) Max A. Robertson, Request for Commission 
Action (May 24, 1999) (stating that an unsolicited 
advertisement was received via facsimile from Carolina 
Liquidators); (3) Melissa A. Smith, Litigation Counsel, VarTec 
Telecom., Request for Commission Action ( March 8, 1999) 
(stating that VarTec Telecom. received unsolicited 
advertisements via facsimile from Carolina Liquidators ); and 
(4) Will Harris, A.O. Smith Water Products Company, Request for 
Commission Action (April 26, 1999) (stating that the company 
received several unsolicited advertisements via facsimile from 
Carolina Liquidators).

6    See (1) Melissa A. Smith, Esq., Attorney for VarTec 
Telecom, Inc. (VarTec), Request for Commission Action (October 
12, 1999 and December 15, 1999) (stating that VarTec received 
14 unsolicited facsimile advertisements from Carolina 
Liquidators); (2) Maher Maso, Vice President of Maso, Inc. 
(Maso), Request for Commission Action (December 10, 1999) 
(stating that Maso received 4 unsolicited advertisements by fax 
from Carolina Liquidators on December 9, 1999, April 7, 2000 at 
approximately 7:03 a.m., April 7, 2000 at approximately 1:23 
p.m. and May 19, 2000 ); (3) Mica Calfee, Request for 
Commission Action (October 1, 1999) (stating that Carolina 
Liquidators used a telephone facsimile machine to send 1 
unsolicited advertisement to his fax machine on October 1, 
1999); (4) Morris Horn, Director of Field Support, Alpha 
National Technologies Services, Inc. (Alpha) via Texas Public 
Utility Commission, Request for Commission Action (August 3, 
1999) (stating that Carolina Liquidators faxed 3 unsolicited 
advertisements to Alpha's fax machine on September 2, 1999, 
September 15, 1999 and October 1, 1999); (5) David J. Nowacki, 
Request for Commission Action (February 14, 1999) (stating that 
he received 1 unsolicited advertisement by facsimile from 
Carolina Liquidators on  February 8, 1999); (6) Orissa 
Harrington via the Texas Attorney General's Office, Request for 
Commission Action  (stating that she received 2 unsolicited 
advertisements from Carolina Liquidators on October 19, 1999 
and October 28, 1999); (7) Stuart Weibel, Request for 
Commission Action (December 31, 1999) (stating that he received 
1 unsolicited advertisement via facsimile from Carolina 
Liquidators on December 7, 1999); (8) Mary A. Pecan, Request 
for Commission Action (May 26, 2000) (stating that she received 
5 unsolicited advertisement via facsimile from Carolina 
Liquidators on October 6, 1999, April 6, 2000, May 5, 2000, May 
19, 2000, and June 16, 2000); (9) David Cathey, Request for 
Commission Action (March 15, 2000) (stating that he received 2 
unsolicited advertisements from Carolina Liquidators on 
February 24, 2000 and on March 3, 2000); and (10) Thomas M. 
Baird, Sr., Owner, Planning Services, Request for Commission 
Action (April 20, 2000) (stating that he received 1 unsolicited 
advertisement via facsimile from Carolina Liquidators on April 
12, 1999).

7    We note that evidence of additional instances of unlawful 
conduct by Carolina Liquidators may form the basis of 
subsequent enforcement action.

8    Federal Communications Commission, Dallas Field Office 
(Carolina Liquidators faxed 22 unsolicited advertisements to 
the Commission's fax machine on March 22, 2000, March 8, 2000, 
February 16, 2000, February 9, 2000, January 28, 2000, January 
18, 2000, January 6, 2000, December 21, 1999, December 10, 
1999, November 22, 1999, November 18, 1999, October 29, 1999, 
October 15, 1999, October 14, 1999, October 6, 1999, October 5, 
1999, September 29, 1999, September 24, 1999, September 15, 
1999, August 25, 1999 and August 10, 1999).

9    See Declaration of Melissa A. Smith, Esq., Attorney, 
VarTec Telecom.  Ms. Smith states that VarTec received 
unsolicited advertisements via facsimile from Carolina 
Liquidators on the following dates: (1) September 29, 1999; (2) 
October 6, 1999; (3) November 23, 1999 (three unsolicited 
advertisements); (4) December 8, 1999; (5) December 14, 1999; 
(6) December 29, 1999; (7) January 13, 2000; (8) February 25, 
2000; (9) March 22, 2000 (three unsolicited advertisements); 
and (10) April 21, 2000.

10   Id.

11   Id.

12   Id.

13   See Declaration of Mica Calfee.

14   See supra note 6 (listing the consumer letters that form 
the basis for this NAL).

15   47 U.S.C.  227(b)(1)(C).  Section 227 defines a telephone 
facsimile machine as ``equipment which has the capacity (A) to 
transcribe text or images, or both, from paper into an 
electronic signal and to transmit that signal over a regular 
telephone line, or (B) to transcribe text or images (or both) 
from an electronic signal received over a regular telephone 
line onto paper.''  Id.  227(a)(2).  This blanket prohibition 
applies to all unsolicited advertisements transmitted by 
telephone facsimile machines.  The Act does not permit the 
sending of unsolicited advertisements by facsimile to either 
business or residential telephone facsimile machines.

16   47 C.F.R.  64.1200(f)(5).

17   See Rules and Regulations Implementing the Telephone 
Consumer Protection Act of 1991, Memorandum Opinion and Order, 
10 FCC Rcd 12391, 12408,  37 (1995) (TCPA Memorandum Opinion 
and Order).

18   Id.

19   Section 503(b)(2)(C) provides for forfeitures up to 
$10,000 for each violation by cases not covered by 
subparagraphs (A) or (B), which address forfeitures for 
violations by licensees and common carriers, among others.  See 
47 U.S.C.  503(b).  The Commission amended its rules by adding 
a new subsection to its monetary forfeiture provisions that 
incorporates by reference the inflation adjustment requirements 
contained in the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996, Pub. 
L. 104-134, Sec. 31001, 110 Stat. 1321, enacted on April 26, 
1996.  Thus, the maximum statutory forfeiture pursuant to 
section 503(b)(2)(C) increased from $10,000 to $11,000.  See 
Amendment of Section 1.80 of the Commission's Rules, 12 FCC Rcd 
1038 (1997). 

20   47 U.S.C.  503(b)(2)(D); 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, 17100-17101,  27 (1997), recon. denied, 15 FCC Rcd 
303 (1999) (Forfeiture Policy Statement).

21   See Get-Aways, Inc., Notice of Apparent Liability For 
Forfeiture, 15 FCC Rcd. 1805 (1999); Get-Aways, Inc, Forfeiture 
Order, FCC 00-67 (released March 2, 2000).  See also Tri-Star 
Marketing, Inc., Notice of Apparent Liability For Forfeiture, 
FCC 00- 219 (released June 22, 2000).

22   See Tri-Star Marketing, Inc., Notice of Apparent Liability 
For Forfeiture, FCC 00- 219 (released June 22, 2000).

23   Id.

24   See 47 U.S.C.  503(b)(4)(C); 47 C.F.R.  1.80(f)(3).

25   The forfeiture amount should be paid by check or money 
order drawn to the order of the Federal Communications 
Commission.  Reference should be made on Carolina Liquidators, 
Inc.'s check or money order to ``NAL/Acct/ No. X3217-007.''  
Such remittances must be mailed to Forfeiture Collection 
Section, Finance Branch, Federal Communications Commission, 
P.O. Box 73482, Chicago, Illinois 60673-7482.