To get back on topic, FRS and GMRS licensing in the US still confuses a lot of folks here, and it all comes right back to the FCC. They created this debacle in the first place, when they initially set up the services and then failed to enforce their rules or address issues with them until things got compltetely out of hand, and when they did finally consider the situation, then it took them ten years to do anything about it.
That sends mixed signals to manufacturers, dealers and consumers alike. On the one hand, there were rules to follow, but the FCC largely ignored transgressions unless they were prodded to address individual violations. When they did address them, they were very heavy handed with the fines, but, they seemed to pick and choose their enforcement activity, rather than enforcing the rules fairly across the board.
That sort of artbitrary behaviour by the FCC didn’t build respect for the rules, it only served to cultivate disrespect by the public at large, simply because it proved that users who violated them were likely to get away with breaking them with few repercussions. After all, if the FCC wasn’t serious about enforcing their own rules, why should the public care about following them?
So, in 2017 the FCC was forced to overhaul the rules for FRS and GMRS, not so much to bring them “up to date” (which was the public-facing reason given to save face) , but to try to bring the problem somewhat under control. The truth is, it wasn’t as much an overhaul of the Part 95 rules as it was a workaround to make the rules fit the situation of dealing with the millions of hybrid FRS/GMRS radios already out on the market and in active use by consumers everywhere. They had to change the rules because the situation got so out of hand that it was impossible to control or ban hybrid radios or their use at that point.
In spite of the rhetoric, it wasn’t about modernizing the rules, it was an act of desperation to regain some sense of authority or control over them. And they could have prevented this in the first place if they had only been paying attention and enforced the original Part 95 rules from the get go.
What made the FRS/GMRS situation particularly ludicrous is that this is very similar what happened with the Citizen’s Band or what is now officially called the CB band back in the 1970’s, and the FCC handled it in much the same way, that is, very poorly. In other words, they didn’t learn from that incident. They made the same mistake again.
So, while manufacturers, dealers and end users do have some accountability for following the rules, The FCC is the agency ultimately responsible for the creation, interpretation and enforcement of the rules, and they aren’t doing the job. You can’t make up rules, enforce them on a whim, and then expect everyone to abide by them. If the public doesn’t know or understand them to even follow them correctly to begin with, you can’t enforce them at all, and the rules mean nothing.
It’s not the dealer’s responsibility to enforce rules they didn’t create and have no power to control. This responsibility falls on the FCC, and they need to take ownership of it.