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Circuit City Fighting FCC Fines

Richmond, Va. — Circuit City has taken the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to task for imposing a $714,000 fine on the chain for alleged DTV labeling violations.

Circuit City was one of seven national chains, including Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Target, Sears and Fry’s, which were slapped with $3.7 million in cumulative fines last month for failing to post labels on analog TVs warning that the sets did not include a digital tuner and would not receive over-the-air broadcasts after Feb. 17, 2009.

In its response, filed with the FCC yesterday by Circuit’s lawyers, the retailer argued among other points that:

·         the commission doesn’t have jurisdiction to impose and enforce the labeling regulation;

·         the FCC never solicited public comment for the labeling obligation;

·         the chain made every effort to abide by the regulations despite a lack of notice, time and a baseline for compliance; and that

·         Circuit City had assisted the FCC in determining which products required labels, and has worked diligently to assist in the DTV transition.

Indeed, retailers contacted by TWICE after the fines were imposed last month expressed outrage that the FCC would take such action, noting that they had worked aggressively with the commission and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to educate the public on the analog cutoff and the government TV converter-box coupon program.