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                           Before the
                     Washington, D.C.  20554

In the Matter of                )
                                )       File No.  ENF 99-10
Vista Services Corporation      )
                                )       NAL/Acct. No. 916EF0005
Apparent Liability for Forfeiture       )

                       ORDER OF FORFEITURE

     Adopted:  October 18, 2000                        Released:  
October 23, 2000    

By  the  Commission:   Commissioner  Furchtgott-Roth  issuing   a 
separate statement.

                        I.   INTRODUCTION

          In this  Order,  we  assess a  forfeiture  of  $680,000 
against Vista Group International,  Inc. (``Vista'') for  willful 
or repeated  violations of  the Communications  Act of  1934,  as 
amended (the  ``Act''),  and implementing  Commission  rules  and 
orders.  We  find that  Vista  willfully or  repeatedly  violated 
section 258 of  the Act by  changing the preferred  interexchange 
carriers  designated   by   fourteen  consumers   without   their 
authorization (a practice commonly referred to as ``slamming'').1 

                         II.  BACKGROUND

          The facts and circumstances leading to the issuance  of 
our Notice  of Apparent  Liability for  Forfeiture (``NAL'')  are 
fully recited in the NAL and  need not be reiterated at  length.2  
Between September  1,  1998 and  July  30, 1999,  the  Commission 
processed hundreds of consumer  complaints regarding Vista.   The 
Commission investigated eighteen  of these  complaints.  Each  of 
the complainants  contended  that  Vista  converted  his  or  her 
preferred interexchange carrier  (``PIC'') without  authorization 
and provided sworn statements and evidence to that effect.  
          Seven of the  complaints forming the  basis of the  NAL 
involved allegations that the complainants' respective PICs  were 
changed without the complainants'  authorization through the  use 
of telemarketers who misrepresented material facts about  Vista's 
services.  These  complaints  suggested a  pattern  of  marketing 
practices designed to disguise the  nature of the sales calls  or 
to prevent consumers from understanding that Vista was seeking to 
change their  PICs.   The remaining  eleven  complaints  involved 
Vista's switching consumers whose accounts it had purchased  from 
ATS, another entity.  Vista admits that these purchased  accounts 
were not verified according to the Commission's rules. 

          In the  NAL,  based on  our  review of  the  facts  and 
circumstances surrounding these violations,  we found that  Vista 
was apparently liable  for a proposed  forfeiture of $80,000  for 
each of the  seven complaints involving  allegations of  slamming 
through  misleading   sales  and   verification  practices.    In 
addition, we  found  that  Vista  was  apparently  liable  for  a 
proposed forfeiture  of  $40,000 for  each  of the  other  eleven 
complaints.  In total,  we proposed a  forfeiture of  $1,000,0003 
for Vista's apparent violation of section 258 of the Act4 and the 
Commission's rules and  orders.5  Vista filed  a response to  the 
NAL on September  30, 1999,  challenging the  conclusions in  the 

                      III.      DISCUSSION

          In its Response to the NAL, Vista does not deny that it 
submitted PIC-change orders to  the complainants' local  exchange 
carriers,6 but does contest the Commission's finding of  apparent 
liability  for  willful  or  repeated  violations  of  our  rules 
governing PIC-change conversions.   Vista contests liability  for 
each of the eighteen complaints, arguing that: 1) the  Commission 
has not proved that all of the PIC changes were unauthorized  and 
unverified; 2) Vista's telemarketers were independent contractors 
who allegedly  exceeded  their  authority;  3)alleged  deceptive 
marketing   activities   are   not   within   the    Commission's 
jurisdiction; and,  4)  for  the complaints  emanating  from  the 
customer  list  that  Vista  bought  from  another  carrier,  the 
Commission does not have enough  facts to determine whether  that 
carrier properly effected the PIC changes, and Vista has no means 
to secure that  information.  Vista also  contests the amount  of 
the proposed  forfeiture as  excessive, due  to the  controls  it 
allegedly instituted  to  prevent  abuses  in  its  telemarketing 
program, and Vista's alleged  cessation of all its  telemarketing 
activities in November,  1998, months  before the  Vista NAL  was 
issued. We address Vista's arguments below.

A.   Slamming Liability Through Misleading Sales and Verification 

          Seven complaints forming  the basis of  the NAL  allege 
that Vista  telemarketers  misrepresented  material  facts  about 
Vista's  services  to   consumers  who  then   relied  on   these 
misrepresentations in  changing their  long distance  carrier  to 
Vista.  Vista maintains that  it did not  violate section 258  of 
the Act or the Commission's rules with regard to these seven  PIC 
changes, and also  challenges the  allegations of  five of  those 
complaints as  lacking  supporting  evidence.7   Vista  submitted 
verification tapes  for four  of the  seven allegedly  authorized 
sales.8   These  verification   tapes  purportedly  capture   the 
conversation made  between  the  third  party  verifier  and  the 
complainant immediately after the completion of the telemarketing 
sale9 between  the complainant  and the  Vista  representative.10  
These tapes  are evidence,  Vista claims,  that the  complainants 
agreed  to  switch  their   long-distance  service  to   Vista.11  
Further, Vista rejects the evidence  the Commission cited in  the 
NAL, consisting  of consumer  complaints and  sworn  declarations 
made later in time  than the tapes,  as insufficient evidence  to 
dispute the content  of the tapes  and as ``wholly  untested.''12  
Vista argues that the taped conversations directly contradict the 
declarations,  and  therefore   Vista  must   be  ``afforded   an 
opportunity to test the  complainants' assertions through  cross-
examination,  or  the  forfeitures  [for  those]  sales  must  be 

          For purposes of  determining Vista's  liability, it  is 
clear from the language  of section 258, that  we need only  find 
that (1) complainants did not authorize the change and (2)  Vista 
submitted PIC changes to the complainants' LECs.14  All seven  of 
the complainants  sent  consumer  complaints  to  the  Commission 
stating  that  Vista  had  switched  their  PICs  without   their 
authorization, and  later confirmed  these allegations  in  sworn 
statements.15  In the  complaints and  statements, the  consumers 
describe   with   specificity   the   manner   in   which   Vista 
misrepresented its  identity.   For  example,  in  three  of  the 
complaints,16 the consumers consistently describe a telemarketing 
call in  which  Vista falsely  stated  that it  (Vista)  was  the 
consumer's LEC and was offering a billing consolidation  service, 
not a long distance service. In addition, Vista concedes that  it 
submitted the PIC changes for the complainants.17 

     8.   To counter the consumers' allegations that they had not 
authorized  a  PIC  change  but   were  agreeing  to  a   billing 
consolidation service, Vista provided four tapes.18  These  tapes 
record the  calls  between  the third  party  verifiers  and  the 
consumers,  in  which  the  consumers  allegedly  verified  their 
authorization of  Vista  as  their preferred  carrier.   We  have 
closely  reviewed  the  tapes  Vista  submitted  for  Porter  and 
Associates, Inc., JRT &  Associates, Sterling Travel and  Leasco, 
Inc. In  these tapes,  the verifiers  ask the  consumers if  they 
agree to switch their long  distance service to Vista.  After  an 
affirmative answer, the verifier asks if the consumers understand 
that Vista is not affiliated  with their local carrier, to  which 
they all responded affirmatively.  The quality of the  recordings 
is good,  demonstrating  that the  verifiers  speak in  a  clear, 
deliberate and easily understood  manner.  Based on the  specific 
facts  of  this  case,  we  accept  Vista's  argument  that   the 
recordings indicate  that the  consumers should  have  understood 
that they  had authorized  Vista to  become their  long  distance 
carrier and that  Vista was  not associated  with the  consumers' 
LEC.  Accordingly,  we reduce  the amount  of the  forfeiture  by 
$80,000 for each of  these four complaints,  or $320,000.  In  so 
doing, we emphasize  that tapes  of verification  calls will  not 
always exonerate the entity alleged to be slamming consumers.  If 
a carrier  has  engaged  in  a  pattern  of  misrepresenting  its 
identity and/or  service offering,  a subsequent  recording of  a 
``verification'' may not overcome the fact that the consumer  did 
not first authorize the service.  Liability must be determined on 
the facts  and circumstances  of each  individual case.   Because 
Vista  does  not  submit  a   tape  or  any  other   substantive, 
exonerating documentation  for  the other  three  complaints,  we 
find, on the basis of the  evidence cited in the NAL, that  those 
complainants did not authorize Vista to change their PICs.19

     9.   With respect to two of these PIC changes, Vista  argues 
that it is not liable for the conduct of the contractors it used, 
including the telemarketing firms  and the third party  verifiers 
soliciting and verifying PIC-change  requests on Vista's  behalf.  
In this respect, we direct Vista to section 217 of the Act,20 and 
the numerous instances  in which the  Commission has stated  that 
carriers are responsible for the conduct of third parties  acting 
on the carrier's behalf, including third party marketers.21 Vista 
is not  relieved of  liability for  the two  complaints at  issue 
merely because  it  may  have directed  the  entities  to  secure 
consumer authorizations in accordance with the law.  Section  217 
of the Act  deems ``the act, omission  or failure of   any . .  . 
person acting for  or employed by''  any carrier to  be the  act, 
omission or  failure of  that carrier.22   This language  clearly 
extends to the  entities ``acting  for'' Vista  in securing  PIC-
change authorizations.   Identical  language in  another  federal 
statute has been construed to  impose criminal liability upon  an 
employer for the acts of  its independent contractor.23  To  hold 
that  section  258  and  our   slamming  rules  do  not   include 
independent contractors  would create  a gaping  loophole in  the 
requirements  of  the  Act  and  frustrate  legislative   intent.  
Moreover, Vista's interpretation is contrary to  long-established 
principles  of  common  law   holding  statutory  duties  to   be 
     10.  Also, we  reject  Vista's claim  that  it did  not  act 
willfully because  of  the  precautions it  purportedly  took  to 
prevent the telemarketers' unscrupulous actions.  Neither Vista's 
alleged  lack   of   knowledge  or   suspicions   regarding   its 
telemarketers' conduct nor  the fact  that Vista  may have  taken 
steps to prevent  fraudulent schemes,25  exonerates the  company.  
It has  long been  established that  the word  ``willfully,''  as 
employed in  section  503(b)  of  the Act,  does  not  require  a 
demonstration that Vista  knew that it  was acting  unlawfully.26  
Section 503(b) requires  only a  finding that Vista  knew it  was 
doing  the  acts  in  question   and  that  the  acts  were   not 
accidental.27  Furthermore, the language of section 258 imposes a 
strict  liability  standard  on   the  carrier  responsible   for 
submitting an unauthorized change, regardless of intent. 

     11.  Vista next  argues that  the Commission  does not  have 
jurisdiction, under section  201 of the  Act or the  Commission's 
rules,  to  regulate  carriers'   marketing  devices  and   sales 
strategies.28  In  the NAL,  we  found not  only that  Vista  was 
apparently  liable   for   changing   consumers'   PICs   without 
authorization, but  also that  Vista  was apparently  liable  for 
violations of section 201(b) of the Act, which prohibits ``unjust 
and unreasonable'' practices by  carriers ``in connection  with'' 
communication service.29  Although  we specifically  declined  to 
propose a forfeiture based on  the apparent violation of  section 
201(b), Vista challenges  this finding of  apparent liability  on 
jurisdictional  grounds.   We  reject  Vista's  argument.   Under 
circumstances  very  similar   to  those   involved  here,   this 
Commission recently  reiterated  that it  possessed  jurisdiction 
under section  201(b) for  deceptive telemarketing  practices  by 
long distance carriers.30  The  telemarketing practices at  issue 
in  the  prior  action  included  the  carrier  representing   to 
consumers that  it was  affiliated with  the consumers'  existing 
interexchange carriers,  and was  offering a  bill  consolidation 
service, then  proceeding to  switch the  customers' PIC.   Given 
this precedent, and the similarity  between the conduct at  issue 
in the  two  actions, we  have  no difficulty  rejecting  Vista's 
jurisdictional argument.

B.   Liability of the Remaining Eleven Complaints

     12.  Finally, in the NAL,  we found Vista apparently  liable 
for slamming 11 consumers whose  accounts it purchased from  ATS.  
Vista concedes that it did not properly verify the changes before 
it switched  those  consumers'  PICs to  Vista.31   According  to 
Vista,  ATS  represented  that  it  "had  lawfully  acquired  the 
customer accounts it sold to Vista."32  Therefore, Vista  argues, 
having purchased those "lawfully acquired customer accounts,"  it 
had  authority  to  submit  PIC-change  requests  switching   the 
consumers to its long distance  service.  According to Vista,  to 
the  extent  ATS  had   not  properly  verified  the   consumers' 
authorization to  switch their  PICs  to ATS,  ATS is  guilty  of 
slamming and Vista  is the victim  of ATS's misconduct.33   Vista 
contends that  the  Commission must  conduct  a full  hearing  to 
determine if  ATS lawfully  acquired its  customers before  being 
able to determine if the  consumers were indeed slammed.  If  so, 
Vista contends that the Commission must hold ATS accountable  for 
the slamming.34

     13.  Vista's arguments misconstrue the NAL, the Act and  the 
Commission's rules and orders.  Under section 258 of the Act  and 
the Commission's  rules  and  orders, no  carrier  can  submit  a 
carrier change  request  without  first  verifying  that  request 
pursuant to the Commission's rules.  Vista does not contend  that 
ATS was  an  agent  soliciting consumers  to  switch  to  Vista's 
service on  Vista's behalf.  Rather, Vista  acknowledges that  it 
purchased consumer accounts from  ATS and subsequently  submitted 
PIC-change requests on behalf of those consumers to change  their 
service to Vista.  Regardless of whether or not ATS had  properly 
effected a  switch  to  ATS' service,  Vista  had  the  statutory 
obligation to submit PIC  changes to its  own service only  after 
obtaining authorization  from  the consumer  and  verifying  that 
authorization in accordance with the Commission's rules. 

     14.  We also  reject  Vista's  argument that  it  should  be 
relieved of  its statutory  duty  to submit  verified  PIC-change 
requests because  the  transfer  of customer  accounts  from  one 
carrier to another without verifying the consumer's authorization 
is "commonplace  in the  industry."  If  carriers have  purchased 
consumer  accounts  and  switched  the  customers'  PICs  without 
authorization and verification, they have done so in violation of 
section 258 and the Commission's  rules and orders.  Vista  cites 
no authority  to  the contrary.   Vista  also contends  that  the 
Commission did not require waivers  of its verification rules  in 
the situation  where  carriers  acquired  the  customer  base  of 
another carrier  prior  to  issuance of  the  Second  Report  and 
Order.35  In that respect, we are puzzled by Vista's  contention.  
The Second Report and Order  did not add the waiver  requirement; 
in fact,  there  is  nothing  in  the  Second  Report  and  Order 
suggesting that prior to its issuance carriers were not  required 
to obtain  a  consumer's authorization  and  verification  before 
submitting a PIC-change  request.  The fact  that the  Commission 
first granted a  waiver36 of its  authorization and  verification 
requirements after the Second Report and Order does not  undercut 
any  of  the   Commission's  prior  requirements.    Furthermore, 
slamming  waiver  requests  are   scrutinized  to  determine   if 
approving them would be in the public interest and have only been 
granted when  carriers have  agreed to  notify consumers  of  the 
impending service  change  and  the consumers'  right  to  choose 
another carrier  if  the  consumers  so  decide.37   Here,  Vista 
satisfied none of those requirements.

C.   Amount of the Forfeiture

     15.  Vista also  argues that  if the  Commission  determines 
that a forfeiture  should be imposed,  ``a forfeiture penalty  of 
the magnitude the Notice seeks to assess on Vista would seriously 
jeopardize Vista's ability  to remain  in business.  . .''38   We 
reject this argument.  We have consistently held that a carrier's 
gross revenues are the  best indicators of its  ability to pay  a 
forfeiture,39 and  that  gross  revenues  and  current  financial 
status can be  shown in an  SEC Form  10-Q, or in  an audited  or 
otherwise authenticated  income  statement  of  the  company.  40  
Vista has not provided any such probative evidence of its  actual 
gross revenues, or its current financial status.41  We  therefore 
determine that Vista also has not met its burden of proof on this 

     16.  Although  Vista   further   maintains  that   it   took 
precautions concerning its  efforts to  address its  unauthorized 
carrier changes, and that  it stopped its telemarketing  services 
in November 1998,42 we find nothing to mitigate the amount of its 
forfeiture.  We believe that the precautions that Vista claims to 
have taken, such as  requiring approved scripts, on-site  visits, 
trouble codes, and internal safeguards,  were not unusual in  the 
industry.    Moreover,   Vista's   cessation   of   telemarketing 
activities in  November  1998  came  months  after  the  Consumer 
Protection Branch  of the  Common  Carrier Bureau  had  forwarded 
hundreds  of  informal  consumer  complaints  to  Vista  for  its 
                         IV.  CONCLUSION

     17.  After reviewing the information  filed by Vista in  its 
Response, we  find that  Vista has  failed to  identify facts  or 
circumstances to persuade  us that  we should  rescind the  Vista 
NAL.  With respect to four of the PIC changes at issue, Vista has 
presented  evidence,  which  persuades   us  not  to  issue   any 
forfeiture for  those alleged  violations.  Thus,  we reduce  the 
proposed $1,000,000 forfeiture penalty to $680,000.  We note that 
evidence  of  further   slamming  violations   could  result   in 
additional enforcement proceedings against Vista. 

                    V.      ORDERING CLAUSES

     18.  Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED  pursuant to section  503(b) 
of the Act,  47 U.S.C.  503(b), and section  1.80(f)(4) of  the 
Commission's rules, 47 C.F.R.   1.80(f)(4), that Vista  Services 
Corporation SHALL FORFEIT to the United States Government the sum 
of  six  hundred  and  eighty  thousand  dollars  ($680,000)  for 
violating section  258 of  the  Act, 47  U.S.C.   258,  and  the 
Commission's rules  and  orders governing  primary  interexchange 
carrier conversions,  47  C.F.R.   64.1100,  64.1150.   Payment 
shall be made in the manner  provided for in section 1.80 of  the 
Commission's rules  within  30  days from  the  release  of  this 
order.43  If  the  forfeiture  is  not  paid  within  the  period 
specified, the case will be referred to the Department of Justice 
for collection pursuant to section 504(a) of the Act. 

     19.  IT IS  FURTHER ORDERED  that a  copy of  this Order  of 
Forfeiture shall  be  sent by  certified  United States  mail  to 
Philip A.  Bethune, President,  Vista Services  Corporation,  821 
West Pointe Parkway, Suite 920, Westlake, Ohio  44145.

                                FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

                                Magalie Roman Salas

Re:  Vista   Services   Corporation,   Apparent   Liability   for 
Forfeiture, File No. ENF 99-10.  

     I  concur  in  today's  decision  to  impose  a  significant 
forfeiture against  Vista  Services Corporation  based  on  their 
violations of our  slamming rules. Although  not relevant to  the 
merits of the forfeiture, the Order does contain dicta  asserting 
jurisdiction  over  deceptive   advertising  practices  by   long 
distance carriers.44   I  write separately to  note my  continued 
concern  with  the   Commission's  excursions  into   advertising 


1    Section 258  states  that  ``no  telecommunications  carrier 
shall submit .  . .  a change in  a subscriber's  selection of  a 
provider of telephone exchange service or telephone toll  service 
except in  accordance with  such verification  procedures as  the 
Commission shall prescribe.''  47 U.S.C.  258.  In the Notice of 
Apparent Liability that preceded this  Order, we also found  that 
Vista apparently  violated  section 201(b)  of  the Act  for  its 
unreasonable  marketing  practices,  but  declined  to  assess  a 
forfeiture for those apparent violations.
2    Vista Services  Corp.,  Notice  of  Apparent  Liability  for 
Forfeiture, 14 FCC Rcd 13814 (1999) (Vista NAL).
3    Vista  NAL,  14  FCC  Rcd  at  13830.   The  Commission  has 
authority pursuant  to  section  503(b) of  the  Act,  47  U.S.C. 
503(b), to assess a forfeiture penalty against a common carrier 
if the Commission determines that the carrier has ``willfully  or 
repeatedly'' failed to comply with  the provisions of the Act  or 
with any rule, regulation, or order issued by the Commission.
4    47 U.S.C.  258.
5    See 47  C.F.R.   64.1100, 64.1150;  Implementation of  the 
Subscriber  Carrier   Selection   Changes   Provisions   of   the 
Telecommunications Act of 1996 and Policies and Rules  Concerning 
Unauthorized Changes of Consumers' Long Distance Carriers,  First 
Order on Reconsideration, CC Docket No. 94-129, FCC 00-135  (rel. 
May 3, 2000) (Section 258 Reconsideration Order);  Implementation 
of the  Subscriber Carrier  Selection Changes  Provisions of  the 
Telecommunications Act of 1996 and Policies and Rules  Concerning 
Unauthorized Changes of Consumers' Long Distance Carriers, Second 
Report and Order  and Further Notice  of Proposed Rulemaking,  14 
FCC Rcd 1508  (1998) (Section 258  Order), stayed in  nonrelevant 
part, MCI WorldCom v. FCC, No. 99-1125 (D.C. Cir. May 18,  1999), 
stay dissolved, MCI WorldCom v. FCC, No. 99-1125 (D.C. Cir.  June 
27, 2000); Further Notice  of Proposed Rulemaking and  Memorandum 
Opinion and Order  on Reconsideration, 12  FCC Rcd 10674  (1997); 
Policies and Rules Concerning Unauthorized Changes of  Consumers' 
Long Distance  Carriers,  10 FCC  Rcd  9560 (1995)  (LOA  Order), 
stayed in  part, 11  FCC Rcd  856 (1995)  (In-Bound Stay  Order); 
Policies and Rules concerning Changing Long Distance Carriers,  7 
FCC Rcd 1038 (1992) (PIC Change Order), recon. denied, 8 FCC  Rcd 
3215 (1993);  Investigation  of  Access  and  Divestiture-Related 
Tariffs, 101  FCC  Rcd  911  (1985)  (Allocation  Order),  recon. 
denied,  102  FCC2d  503  (1985);  Investigation  of  Access  and 
Divestiture-Related Tariffs, 101 FCC  2d 935 (Com.Car.Bur.  1985) 
(Waiver  Order),   recon.  denied,   102   FCC  2d   503   (1985) 
(Reconsideration Order). 
6    The Commission's rules and orders require that interexchange 
carriers such as Vista submit authorized and verified  PIC-change 
orders to local  exchange carriers, which  are then obligated  to 
make the PIC-change  absent some indication  that the request  is 
not legitimate, 10 FCC Rcd 9560 (1995) See LOA Order, 10 FCC  Rcd 
9560; PIC-Change Order, 7 FCC Rcd 1038; Allocation Order, 101 FCC 
2d 911; Waiver Order, 101 FCC 2d 935.
7    The five complaints Vista challenges are: CUM Save N' Share, 
Porter and Associates,  Inc., JRT &  Associates, Sterling  Travel 
and Leasco,  Inc.   All eighteen  complaints  were listed  in  an 
attachment to the original Vista NAL.
8    Vista  claims  that  it  can   verify  five  of  the   seven 
complaints, but it  only submits four  verification tapes.    For 
the fifth, CUM Save N' Share, Vista found only a tape number, and 
other information that  it claims the  contractor could not  have 
provided unless a verification  had been conducted.  Response  at 
17 - 18.
9    Vista admits that it was not privy to the conversations  the 
complainants had with the telemarketers, and admits that no tapes 
exist of those conversations.  Response at 20.
10   In the Vista NAL, the Commission profiled three of the seven 
complaints alleging misrepresentation -- Sterling Travel,  Porter 
& Associates, and Magann Corporation.  The NAL also profiled  the 
Import Camera Service  complaint which involved Vista's  purchase 
of accounts from ATS.  Vista submitted verification tapes for two 
of  the  profiled  complaints,  Sterling  Travel  and  Porter   & 
Associates, and tapes  for two  more of  the complaints  alleging 
misrepresentation,  Leasco   Properties,   Inc.   and   JRT   and 
11   Response at 16 - 17. 
12   Id. at 19.
13   Id. at 21.
14   See 47 U.S.C.  258; Section 258 Order, 14 FCC Rcd at  1539.  
The Section 258 Order reiterates that the statutory language does 
not establish an intent element  for a violation of section  258.  
A carrier,  therefore, would  be liable  for slamming  if it  was 
responsible for an unauthorized change, regardless of whether  it 
was done intentionally.
15   Vista NAL, 14 FCC Rcd at 13824.
16   The three complaints are  from Porter and Associates,  Inc., 
Sterling Travel, and CUM Save N' Share. 
17   Response at 16.
18   Vista submitted these tapes with its Response.
19   For a fifth  complainant, CUM Save  N' Share, Vista  reports 
that it could not find a tape, but found only a tape number,  and 
other information that  it claims the  contractor could not  have 
provided  unless  a  verification  had  been  conducted.   Vista, 
however, did not submit this information.  Response at 17 - 18.
20   Section 217 deems the acts or omissions of an agent or other 
person acting for a common carrier to be the acts or omissions of 
the carrier itself.   47 U.S.C.  217.
21   The Commission has  repeatedly held  that the  failure of  a 
third party marketer  to obtain proper  authorization for a  PIC-
change does not relieve the carrier of its independent obligation 
to ensure compliance  with Commission rules.  See, Long  Distance 
Direct, Inc., Order of Forfeiture, 15 FCC Rcd 3297 (2000);  Amer-
I-Net Services Corporation, Order of Forfeiture, 15 FCC Rcd  3118 
(2000); Target Telecom,  Inc., Order  of Forfeiture,  13 FCC  Rcd 
4456 (Com.Car.Bur. 1998) (Target Telecom Forfeiture Order);  and, 
Excel Telecommunications, Inc., Order  of Forfeiture, 11 FCC  Rcd 
19765 (Com.Car.Bur. 1997).
22   47 U.S.C.  217 (emphasis added).
23   United States  of America  v. Corbin  Farm Service,  444  F. 
Supp. 510, 525 ( E.D. Cal.), aff'd on other grounds, 578 F.2d 259 
(9th Cir. 1978).  In  that case, the court  was charged with  the 
construction of section 1361(b)(4) of the Insecticide, Fungicide, 
and Rodenticide Act, 7 U.S.C.  1 et seq.
24   Employers are routinely held liable for breach of  statutory 
duties, even  where  the failings  are  those of  an  independent 
contractor, and even  where the  party seeking  redress is  other 
than the government.   See Restatement [Second]  of Torts   409, 
comment b at 371.  See also,   e.g., Alva Steamship Co., Ltd.  v. 
City of New York, 616 F.2d 605, 609 (2d Cir. 1980) (exception  to 
the rule  of  nonliability  for  the  negligence  of  independent 
contractor is ``the negligence  of an independent contractor  who 
performs a duty imposed by statute on the employer").
25   Response at 32 - 36.
26   47 U.S.C.  503(b).
27   ConQuest Operator Services  Corp., Order  of Forfeiture,  14 
FCC Rcd  12518, 12525,  n.41  (1999); Target  Telecom  Forfeiture 
Order, 13 FCC Rcd at 4458, Southern California Broadcasting  Co., 
Memorandum Opinion and Order, 6 FCC Rcd 4387, 4387-88 (1991).
28   Response at 23 - 28.
29   47 U.S.C.  201(b).
30   Business Discount Plan,  Inc., Order of  Forfeiture, 15  FCC 
Rcd 14461 (2000),  petition for recon.  pending.  See also  Joint 
FCC/FTC Policy Statement for  the Advertising of Dial-Around  and 
Other Long  Distance  Services  to Consumers,  15  FCC  Rcd  8654 
(2000); AT&T, 71 RR2d 775 (1992); Telecommunications Research and 
Action Center and  Consumer Action  v. Central Corp.,  4 FCC  Rcd 
2157 (Com. Car. Bur. 1989).
31   Response at 40 - 41.
32   Id. at 41.
33   Id. at 38 - 43.
34   Id. at 43.
35   Id. at n. 142.
36   See Equal Net  Corporation Request  for Waiver,  14 FCC  Rcd 
3975 (Com. Car. Bur.1999).
37   Id.
38   Id. at 50.
39   See, e.g., Target  Telecom Forfeiture Order,  13 FCC Rcd  at 
4464 (``the use of gross revenues to determine a party's  ability 
to pay  is reasonable,  appropriate, and  a useful  yardstick  in 
helping to analyze a company's financial condition for forfeiture 
40   Long Distance Direct, Inc., Memorandum Opinion and Order, 15 
FCC Rcd at 3305-06.
41   Vista   submitted   general   financial   information   only 
concerning its net losses and decline in revenues.
42   Response at 46 - 48.
43   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 Vista Services Corporation's check or 
money order to ``NAL/Acct. No. 916EF0005.''  Such remittance must 
be mailed  to  Forfeiture  Collection  Section,  Finance  Branch, 
Federal  Communications  Commission,  P.O.  Box  73482,  Chicago, 
Illinois  60673-7482.
44  11. 
45  See Separate  Statements Of  Commissioner Harold  Furchtgott-
Roth in: Business Discount Plan, FCC 00-239 (rel. July 17, 2000), 
petition for recon. pending;  Joint FCC/FTC Policy Statement  for 
the Advertising of Dial-Around  and Other Long Distance  Services 
to Consumers, 15  FCC Rcd  8654 (2000).    See generally,  Harold 
Furchtgott-Roth and Bryan Tramont, Commission  on the Verge of  a 
Jurisdictional Breakdown:  The  FCC  and its  Quest  to  Regulate 
Advertising, 8 Comm. Law Conspectus 219 (Winter 2000)**