FCC hits retailers with fines for DTV violations

Fri, 04/11/2008 - 9:20am
Mike Robuck

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) fined seven retailers yesterday for not correctly labeling their analog TVs, which will fail to pick up digital signals without additional equipment once the digital transition is completed in February of next year.

The seven retailers were fined a total of $3.9 million for not letting customers know that the analog TVs would need to be retrofitted with converter boxes in order to receive the digital signals next year.

Sears Holdings, which operators Sears and Kmart retail stores, was fined close to $1.1 million for its labeling violation, while Wal-Mart and Sam's West stores were docked $992,000. Circuit City and Fry's Electronics were fined $712,000 and $384,000 – respectively – while Target, Best Buy and CompUSA were the remaining companies to be fined.

In May, the FCC put into place a rule that required retailers to label analog TVs to let consumers know that they will no longer work with over-the-air antennas once the Feb. 17, 2009, deadline has passed. Instead, the TVs will need the converter boxes or will need to be connected to satellite, cable or telco services.

The FCC also fined four other companies a total of $2.7 million for violating V-chip and DTV tuner rules. Syntax-Briallan was fined $1.27 million for DTV tuner actions, while Precor was fined $400,000. For the DTV V-chip violations, Polaroid was fined $775,000, while Proview Technology was fined $300,000.

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