A recent telecom tax and fee analysis uncovered a top ten telecom vendor collecting more than 7% Federal Universal Services Fund (“FUSF”) than they should be per month. This finding will lead to hundreds of thousands, if not millions in credits for our clients. The FCC rules regarding collection of the FUSF are clear.
Section I. 2. of FCC Order #02-329 states: “that telecommunications carriers may not recover their federal universal service contribution costs through a separate line item that includes a mark-up above the relevant contribution factor beginning April 1, 2003” [empasis added]. “Limiting the federal universal service line-item charge to an amount that does not exceed the contribution factor, set quarterly by the Commission, will increase billing transparency and decrease confusion for consumers about the amount of universal service contributions that are passed through by carriers” [emphasis added].
We believe this vendor violated FCC Order #02-329 and should credit our clients for the FUSF Surcharges collected that were greater than the relevant quarterly contribution factors (rates), and the vendor should stop this practice going forward.