1
\$\begingroup\$

Does anyone know if it's legal to use non FCC-approved radio devices which are purchased locally? For instance, if the device is purchased from a local eBay seller, is it still legal to use it in any setting (commercial or otherwise)? AFAIK it is the importer's responsibility to ensure the device imported is compliant. So my take is that it is illegal to use unapproved devices bought from foreign sellers only. Is it correct?

EDIT: I'm referring to USA in particular.

\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ It's about frequency and power rather than FCC approval. Apparently, if you use it commercially you will not be able to get any certification requiring FCC approval for the used equipment. \$\endgroup\$ – Eugene Sh. Sep 6 '18 at 20:43
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @EugeneSh. Doesn't the FCC's regulatory authority only permit it to regulate use? If a device isn't used for anything but a paperweight, for example, do they have any authority to regulate that paperweight or its sale? \$\endgroup\$ – jonk Sep 6 '18 at 21:01
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @jonk Yeah, but the question here is who has the legal responsibility here - the vendor or the consumer. \$\endgroup\$ – Eugene Sh. Sep 6 '18 at 21:02
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @EugeneSh. I'd imagine that the consumer is responsible for their operation. And any consumer who is operating "for profit" may have a higher legal threshold (my guess) in making sure devices they select do meet FCC operational rules. If the device falsifies information about itself and claims it has been tested and approved for specified uses by the FCC then I think that would be actionable in court and might serve protect the consumer. But the consumer would still have to cease the violating uses, too. \$\endgroup\$ – jonk Sep 6 '18 at 21:10
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Anyhow, it looks like someone is committing a crime here, and the other one is an accomplice :) \$\endgroup\$ – Eugene Sh. Sep 6 '18 at 21:22
2
\$\begingroup\$

If you buy from a foreign seller then YOU are the importer, and so are responsible for any required certifications.

If you buy non approved product locally then you may be prosecuted for operation of an unlicesensed radio transmitter, in reality the usual result will be the man telling you to cease and desist from operating that equipment together with fines for the company that did the importing (But keep it up and the fines will start getting serious quickly).

And yea, HAM radio license holders have some strange and unique permissions, things like being allowed to build or modify transmitting sets and operate them without needing to get them certified. No other group of civilian radio users has that right.

|improve this answer|||||
\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ I agree. The user is always responsible. Of course there are exceptions for lab use. ( but then I wouldn't be surprised if FCC's budget was cut) nah they raised $114.6 billion in bandwidth auctions. \$\endgroup\$ – Tony Stewart Sunnyskyguy EE75 Sep 6 '18 at 21:43
1
\$\begingroup\$

No, the operator of the device is almost always responsible for compliance. If you are found to be non-compliant the FCC can issue fines and that's not something you want to deal with. It's really when the device is found to be non-compliant is when you should be worried, but there are many people (verizon has trucks that scan their bands and they can pinpoint non-compiant sources in their bands, if they do an that is you, then they'll turn you over to the FCC) that are interested in finding non-compliant people.

RESPONSIBLE PARTIES The FCC has very specific rules as to who is responsible for regulatory compliance regarding various types of RF devices.

Different rules apply for RF devices subject to various types of authorization. The responsible party is the exclusive party that is required to ensure that RF devices under its custody comply with FCC rules. This includes all identical devices marketed after authorization. Because the responsible party is liable for noncompliant RF devices and related matters, that party will be subject to FCC enforcement actions in the event potential rule violations are discovered

(see 47 C.F.R. § 2.909).

Source: https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/stamp.jsp?arnumber=7879929

|improve this answer|||||
\$\endgroup\$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.