FCC goes after retail chains

Websites lacking proper Consumer Alert labels

WASHINGTON — Attention Kmart, Best Buy, Radio Shack, Circuit City and CompUSA shoppers: The Federal Communications Commission just cited these retailers for not telling you everything you need to know about those analog TV sets for sale.

Within the last 10 days, FCC enforcement bureau officials visited Web sites for each of the five retailers and discovered that not one had “the proper Consumer Alert label displayed on equipment that contained an analog tuner but not a digital tuner at the point of sale,” the agency said.

The alert, mandated by the FCC, informs potential buyers that, come the complete transition to digital broadcasts in February 2009, analog sets will not work unless connected to a cable or satellite delivery system capable of converting digital signals back to analog.

As drafted by the FCC, the alert states:

“This television receiver has only an analog broadcast tuner and will require a converter box after Feb. 17, 2009, to receive over-the-air broadcasts with an antenna because of the nation’s transition to digital broadcasting. Analog-only TVs should continue to work as before with cable and satellite TV services, gaming consoles, VCRs, DVD players and similar products.”

Failure to take corrective action could result in fines ranging from $11,000 to $97,500 per infraction, the agency said.

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