Telecommunications company Sprint will pay $7.5 million in a record settlement after the Federal Communication Commission said the company failed to honor consumer requests to be spared from unwanted telemarketing calls.
Sprint customers who chose to opt out of sales calls through the company’s own Do-Not-Call registry reportedly continued to receive unwanted calls from telemarketers. The company, which is the third largest wireless carrier in the U.S., said that the issues resulted from “technical and inadvertent human errors,” which were reported to the FCC.
“We expect companies to respect the privacy of consumers who have opted out of marketing calls,” said Travis LeBlanc, Acting Chief of the Enforcement Bureau, in a statement released by the FCC on Wednesday. “When a consumer tells a company to stop calling or texting with promotional pitches, that request must be honored.”
In addition to the settlement, which the FCC said is the largest of its kind to date, Sprint will also have to set up a two-year compliance program aimed to protect consumer privacy and regularly report to regulators.
Sprint previously settled with the U.S. Treasury in 2011 to the tune of $400,000 to resolve an investigation about a similar issue.
The full settlement, listed within the FCC’s statement, is as follows:
In its consent decree with the Enforcement Bureau, Sprint has agreed to:
- Make a payment of $7.5 million to the U.S. Treasury;
- Develop and put into action a robust compliance plan designed, among other things, to help ensure future compliance with the FCC’s rules requiring companies to maintain internal Do-Not-Call lists and honor consumers’ requests;
- Develop operating procedures and policies specifically designed to ensure that Sprint’s operations comply with all company-specific Do-Not-Call rules;
- Designate a senior corporate manager as a Compliance Officer to ensure that Sprint complies with the terms and conditions of the compliance plan and the consent decree;
- Implement a training program to ensure that Sprint employees and contractors are properly trained
how to record consumers’ Do-Not-Call requests so that the company removes their names and numbers from marketing lists;
- Report to the FCC any noncompliance with respect to consumers’ Do-Not-Call requests; and
- File with the FCC an initial compliance report within 90 days and annual reports for two years.