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                                                                      DA 14-5

                                                              January 2, 2014

                                             Enforcement Advisory No. 2014-01



      Annual Compliance Filing for Service Providers Due January 15, 2014

   The Enforcement Bureau reminds wireless service providers, including
   resellers, of their obligation to report on compliance with the hearing
   aid compatibility rules on or before January 15, 2014. The hearing aid
   compatibility rules ensure that individuals with hearing loss can fully
   access advanced wireless phone services without excessive feedback or

   The Commission remains committed to ensuring that individuals with hearing
   loss are not denied the public safety and convenience benefits of digital
   wireless telephony. The Commission adopted its first hearing aid
   compatibility rules in 2003, and service providers should now have in
   place robust programs to ensure compliance. The Bureau will continue to
   take aggressive enforcement action against companies that violate these
   important rules. In 2013, the Enforcement Bureau proposed more than $1.4
   million in penalties for violations of the hearing aid compatibility
   rules. Since 2007, the Commission has taken hearing aid compatibility
   enforcement actions totaling more than $4.3 million.

   What do the hearing aid compatibility rules require? FCC rules require
   most wireless service providers to offer a minimum number of hearing
   aid-compatible handset models to make their products accessible to
   consumers with hearing loss. To ensure that consumers have access to
   up-to-date information on the availability of those handset models, FCC
   rules also require service providers to submit periodic status reports and
   to post specific information on their websites. The status reports and web
   content provide valuable information to the public concerning the
   technical testing and commercial availability of hearing aid-compatible
   handset models.

   How important is accurate reporting? All filers must accurately report
   their handset offerings in their annual status reports.^ Inaccurate or
   incomplete reports hamper the Commission's ability to monitor the
   deployment of hearing aid-compatible handsets and impede compliance with
   the hearing aid compatibility rules. One common error that has led to
   inaccurate reporting occurs when service providers mistakenly report only
   those handset models that were "sold" to consumers instead of all handset
   models "offered," as required by the rules.^ The Bureau also regularly
   finds inaccuracies in the information reported about each handset,
   including the hearing aid compatibility rating, model name, and FCC ID, as
   well as the period during which handset models were offered.
   Unfortunately, these errors may then be replicated by other entities.^ The
   Enforcement Bureau urges all filers to review their status reports
   carefully before submission to ensure their accuracy, and to timely amend
   their reports if errors are subsequently discovered.^ The Commission may
   take separate enforcement actions to address the filing of inaccurate or
   incomplete reports if this problem persists.

   What happens if service providers or manufacturers do not comply with the
   rules? Failure to comply with the hearing aid compatibility rules may
   result in the imposition of substantial penalties.

     * Violations of handset deployment requirements may result in monetary
       forfeitures starting at $15,000 per violation. Since 2012, the
       Commission has applied the $15,000 base forfeiture to each failure to
       offer a hearing aid-compatible handset during each month of the
       reporting year.^

     * Violations of the status reporting and website posting requirements
       may result in monetary forfeitures starting at $6,000 per violation.

   The Commission may adjust these base forfeitures based on aggravating or
   mitigating factors. The Communications Act and Commission rules authorize
   forfeitures against a common carrier up to $160,000 for each violation, or
   for each day of a continuing violation, up to a maximum of $1,575,000 for
   a single act or failure to act.^

   Need more information? To file a hearing aid compatibility status report,
   visit For information regarding enforcement
   of the wireless hearing aid compatibility rules, please contact Pamera D.
   Hairston, (202) 418-1165,, or John D. Poutasse,
   (202) 418-2172,, of the Enforcement Bureau. For
   general information on the wireless hearing aid compatibility rules,
   including the filing of status reports, contact Michael Rowan, (202)
   418-1883,, or Eli Johnson, (202) 418-1395, of the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau.

   To request materials in accessible formats for people with disabilities
   (Braille, large print, electronic files, audio format), send an e-mail to or call the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau at (202)
   418-0530 (voice), (202) 418-0432 (TTY). You may also contact the
   Enforcement Bureau on its TTY line at (202) 418-1148 for further
   information about this Enforcement Advisory, or the FCC on its TTY line at
   1-888-Tell-FCC (1-888-835-5322) for further information about the wireless
   hearing aid compatibility rules. Media inquiries should be directed to
   Mark Wigfield, (202) 418-0253, Mark

                     Issued by: P. Michele Ellison, Chief, Enforcement Bureau


   ^ ^ See 47 C.F.R. S 20.19(i).

   ^ See id. S 20.19(i)(3)(i) ("Reports filed by service providers must
   include: (i) [c]ompliant handset models offered to customers since the
   most recent report . . . .").

   ^ The FCC's Equipment Authorization System is the most reliable source for
   information on a handset's hearing aid compatibility rating. The Equipment
   Authorization System is an electronic database of all equipment certified
   under FCC authority. See

   ^ Filers are reminded that they must click on both the "Certify Filing"
   and "Submit Filing" buttons to submit their status reports successfully.
   Filers will receive a confirmation number after submission. Status reports
   may be updated at any time prior to the filing deadline. A previously
   submitted status report that has been updated but not re-submitted before
   the filing deadline will revert to "Saved" status and does not constitute
   a "Submitted" report.

   ^ See T-Mobile USA, Inc., Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, 27
   FCC Rcd 4405, 4415, paras. 22-23 (2012).

   ^ See 47 U.S.C. S 503(b)(2)(B); 47 C.F.R. S 1.80(b)(3).

                                  Page 2 of 2


                                   Page 1of 2

                            FCC ENFORCEMENT ADVISORY

                                  QUICK GUIDE

     * The window for service providers to file their Hearing Aid
       Compatibility Status Reports on FCC Form 655 opened on December 16,
       2013, and closes on January 15, 2014.

     * Service providers must report all handsets offered, review their
       filings for accuracy and completeness prior to submission, and submit
       timely amendments (i.e., by the January 15 deadline) as may be
       necessary to correct any errors.

   Federal Communications Commission

   445 12^th St., S.W.

   Washington, D.C. 20554

                                        News Media Information 202 / 418-0500


                                                          TTY: 1-888-835-5322