“For conduct this egregious, the book should be thrown,” he said.
The companies’ attorney disputed the FCC’s allegations, calling the investigation biased and politically motivated.
“We intend to vigorously defend against the baseless claims, mis-represented factual circumstances and trumped-up fines,” said the companies’ attorney, Michael Donahue.
More than 140 people filed complaints to the FCC complaining that the companies switched their long-distance carriers without permission — a practice known as “slamming” — and “crammed” their bills, or added unauthorized charges.
The agency said OneLink, which faces an $8 million fine, manages the other three firms as one operation from an office in Alpharetta. The other firms have no employees, the FCC said.
The other three firms being fined are TeleDias Communications, in Reno, Nev.; and TeleUno and Cytel, both in Pompano Beach, Fla. The FCC proposed a nearly $7.7 million fine against TeleDia, $9.6 million against TeleUno, and $4.3 million against Cytel.
The FCC proposed the fines Friday in a filing called a “Notice of Apparent Liability and Forfeiture.” The notice gives the companies 30 days to pay or challenge the fines and respond to the allegations.
The FCC said it also may initiate proceedings to revoke the companies’ operating authorizations.