In their extreme regulatory zeal to protect consumers from businesses they say charge too high rates, the Obama Administration, through the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), sought to impose draconian regulations on providers of financial services. Likewise, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) under Obama is seeking to use regulations to force out of business smaller phone service companies that serve similar under-served communities.
Appointed by President Obama, Chief of the Bureau of Enforcement at the FCC Travis LeBlanc is the mastermind behind the regulations that almost put the smaller phone companies out of business. While building a resume to seek higher office, LeBlanc appears to show no concern for the regulations would deny lower-income Americans access to needed services.
The FCC attack was aimed at smaller phone companies that serve immigrants and lower-income consumers with low rates for calling outside the country, such as OneLink Communications, TeleUno, Cytel, and TeleDias Communications. Offering rates unmatched by the larger providers like AT&T and Verizon, these companies offered services the larger companies do not.
LeBlanc is hitting those phone companies with fines for “slamming” and “cramming” of consumers, which is basically an allegation they change customers to their long distance plans and services without a request for such a change. The phone companies accused are denying they engaged in any “slamming” and “cramming” of consumers, as reported by Law360.
LeBlanc and the Enforcement Bureau are ignoring key evidence, the phone companies contend, and the process is biased against them. Law360 reports, “the companies intend to expose the entire process involved as one that was overtly biased, fundamentally flawed and politically motivated. The Enforcement Bureau time and again chose to ignore facts and evidence presented by the companies.”
The mission of the FCC is to regulate “interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories. An independent U.S. government agency overseen by Congress, the commission is the United States’ primary authority for communications laws, regulation and technological innovation.”
LeBlanc is not regulating in a reasonable manner with how the Enforcement Bureau of the FCC is going after these smaller phone companies under his watch. Likewise, this follows the pattern of how Richard Cordray, also an Obama appointee, has pursued an aggressive regulatory agenda at the CFPB. Putting these small phone companies out of business will only benefit the large providers like AT&T and Verizon, as the expense of both consumers of the services and employees of the targeted phone companies. Fair and balanced regulation should promote competitive practices and protect consumers. Regulation that runs companies out of business, denying consumers access to their services, neither protects consumers nor serves the public interest.
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