Not to be strung along, FCC shreds instrument maker’s apparently faulty paperwork. 

The FCC regulates most digital devices, which nowadays include almost anything having an on/off switch. Non-compliance can have unpleasant consequences. Latest to find itself center stage in the FCC’s spotlight: the iconic guitar maker Fender Musical Instruments Corporation, which makes the Stratocaster, Telecaster, and other instruments and electronic gear that have dominated pop, rock, and jazz for generations.

Audio manufacturers in particular have recently been targets of FCC enforcement, including this case and this one. Fender signed a consent decree in which it did not admit guilt, so details of its alleged offense are sparse. But it fretted enough to pay $265,000 to settle the matter, which apparently involved faulty paperwork connected with the importation of bass amplifiers, pre-amplifiers, tuners, audio mixers, and wireless microphones, packaged either separately or with musical instruments. Fender may also have slipped up in providing required labels and information in its instruction manuals.

So far as we can tell, the FCC did not allege that any of the devices involved actually failed to meet required technical standards. The shortcomings appear to consist entirely of omissions in documentation and labeling. Which is a shame, because the underlying rules are just not that hard to follow. Fender’s problems should strike a chord with any company that manufactures or imports any kind of digital equipment.