FCC Certification: The cost of making assumptions

This post is by John Charters, Radio Product ManagerTRaC

The FCC recently imposed a $10,000.00 fine on a company that was selling a wireless remote control in the USA that didn’t have FCC approval. In this case the company wasn’t one that was wilfully ignoring the law, but rather they appear to have misunderstood the certification process and had wrongly thought that the product had been certified.

The company had started testing before the product was launched, and the failure to achieve certification was due to a lack of understanding and several staff leaving, but the FCC showed no sympathy. In fact they stated that:

“We do not believe that these circumstances warrant any downward adjustment of the proposed forfeiture amount.  It is well established that a violator’s lack of knowledge or erroneous beliefs are not a mitigating factor warranting a forfeiture reduction.”

Obtaining certification can be confusing, and most companies need advice and support to navigate the maze of different international regulations. When it comes to product certification, however, making mistakes isn’t acceptable. In fact the company in this could have been fined even more: up to $16,000 for each violation, or each day of a continuing violation. These fines can amount to a maximum of $112,500 – a huge amount for making a simple mistake.

There are many different online resources about FCC certification, but the safest approach is always to work with a trusted test partner who will guide you through the process and take responsibility for ensuring that every last detail is addressed.

Some previous Certification & Test entries:

* Choosing an EMC test lab

* First it was EN55022, now it’s the generic standards requiring >1GHz emission testing

* How the UK helped prevent dangerous explosions

* Why some certifications need factory inspections

* Can Standards really be improved?

* What does a UKAS schedule mean?

* Improve temperature testing by optimising chamber airflow and distribution

* Which standard should I apply?

* Are EMC Standards Really Necessary?

* Standards really do help the economy

* Spot the difference – Why military products need CE marking

* Safety Standards for Military applications

* 9 months to go until testing above 1GHz is a reality – are you ready?

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