Late on Friday, the FCC confirmed a $1 million fine against Behringer USA, Inc. for the importation and marketing of digital audio devices that had not been tested for FCC compliance.
Behringer initially claimed that it thought CE compliance would suffice for importation to the U.S. But of 66 models, it could show evidence of CE compliance for only one before it began importation, and only seven before it received its first letter of inquiry from the FCC, and only 17 before being notified of the fine.
The very large fine reflects not only the number of units illegally sold (approximately 1.17 million), but also Behringer’s continuing to import untested devices even after receiving the FCC’s letter of inquiry. Behringer also failed to submit certain forms to Customs after promising the FCC it would do so, otherwise dragged its feet in achieving compliance, and appears not to have been fully candid with the FCC.
The offenses covered five years. The FCC fined Behringer only for unlawful activity during the one year covered by the statute of limitations. But, as in other recent cases, it increased the fine in part because of Behringer’s behavior prior to that year.
The FCC rejected claims that it had earlier discontinued some of the offending models, that some devices do not come within the cited FCC rules, and that some identical; models were counted twice.
The order is at this link.