FCC auctions: If you play you gotta pay


GavelThe FCC is about to put over 100 FM allotments up for auction during the final week of March, so the bill it has just sent to a successful bidder in FM Auction No. 62 is a great reminder to those bidding this time around. The reminder is this: You’d better be ready to make good on your offer, because you may well be paying it whether you ultimately are awarded the station or not.

The bidder is identified as Mary Vargas, who won permits in Cheboygan MI and Browning MT.
According to the FCC, Vargas never completed paying for the CPs, and money available in her deposit with the FCC was deducted in an initial default assessment, which totaled almost $9.5K – for those of you keeping score at home, the exact total was $9,465.50.

The FCC put the allotments back on the auction block during FM Auctions No. 79 and No. 91. Both of them have been awarded to new licensees who offered new successful bids.

The problem is this – Vargas is responsible for the difference between her bid and that of the new winner if the winner’s bid is lower, subject to certain modifications.

In this case, for failing to complete the process and paying for the allotments she won, and after taking into account any deposit money left in her name, Vargas has been hit with a hefty default payment of $201,908.75. The FCC would like the amount to be paid in full within 30 days of notification.

The lesson is to make sure your financing is lined up before signally a bid to your friendly FCC auctioneer.