TerraCom Wireless | Free Government Phone Fraud Case

TerraCom Wireless, who has been under scrutiny cuts its sales force.  TerraCom, is an Oklahoma-based company, participating in the FCC’s Lifeline program.  Many companies participating in the free government phone program aggressively court Lifeline subscribers.  They use TV, radio, and internet advertising.

The most aggressive of them all is the human field agents.  An independent field agent can be anyone from an in-store associate to an agent set up outside a store, or poor communities, enrolling low-income clients.  This company is still in business and providing free cell phone serves to low-income residents.

TerraCom Wireless Problems

The most aggressive of them all is not the company directly, but the human field agents are causing problems.  A field agent can be anyone from an in-store associate to an agent set up outside a store, or poor communities, enrolling low-income clients.  Reports of customers receiving more than the allotted one phone per family, and unqualified people receiving phones.  Political figures have been long complaining about the abuses of the Lifeline program.

As I mentioned in, a previous post, “Free Government Cell Phone Fraud,”  this hurts the company and the program.  Participating providers receive about $10 a month for each cell or landlines subscription.  Misreporting can cause some participating phone companies to exaggerated enrollments, and receive greater reimbursements than warranted.

TerraCom Wireless Responds to Criticism

TerraCom Wireless is cutting field agents by 700 people nationwide, ending its field operations.   These actions are a safeguard against possible rule violation by field agents, who have little over-site.  The FCC has warned that all Lifeline providers are accountable for the conduct of all their employees and representatives and all breached of conduct will lead to a fine for each violation, to the tune of $1.5 million.  Last year, the FCC  investigation of  TerraCom Wireless and YourTel America lead to them reimbursing $1 million to the FCC.

The ongoing investigation of Lifeline program providers will help reduce, and hopefully end abuses of the free government cell phone program, that have cost states millions of dollars.  In the days ahead, we may see many Lifeline agents, adjusting their company practices.  They want to make sure they are adhering to FCC rules and regulations of practice.  As companies begin to truly, “follow the rules”, hopefully, the pressure put on cell phone providers will lead to better practices and the program can continue to help low-income residents receive basic phone services.

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