The Facts on Anti-Fax Laws

A group of Colorado lawyers and enterprising debt collectors are filing hundreds of lawsuits alleging violation of federal anti-fax laws. Companies sending advertisements by fax are the prime targets of these lawsuits.

Have you noticed that you do not get as many unsolicited faxes these days? Well, that is because a federal law is now in place prohibiting unsolicited fax advertisements. If you violate the law and send that ad touting your products, it will cost you $500 per fax, and possibly $1,500.00 per fax if the judge finds that you did it intentionally.

The law is called the federal telephone consumer protection act, and it has teeth. The federal government got involved in fax advertising about ten years ago. Most states have laws prohibiting unsolicited fax advertisements, but they were not very effective. A fax advertiser could avoid a state’s laws by setting up shop in another state and faxing those ads long distance.

At the request of many states, the federal government enacted the telephone consumer protection act, commonly known as the TCPA. Unless an advertiser obtains advance, express approval, sending fax ads is now illegal in Colorado and most other states. To confuse matters, Colorado has a similar version of this law allowing unsolicited fax advertisements so long as the fax contains an 800 number to let the recipient opt out of any future fax ads. Now, don’t let those boys selling the fancy fax broadcast machines fool you. In Colorado, the trial courts are enforcing the federal law. You need express consent from the recipient to send a fax advertisement. If you don’t follow the federal law, it will cost you at least $500.00 per fax.

The $500.00 federal penalty is a stiff penalty for a one-page fax. The penalty was set at $500.00 to give individuals an incentive to seek recovery. Instead, enterprising lawyers and debt collectors pay people a fraction of that $500.00 to assign the unwanted faxes to them for collection. The lawyers and debt collectors then bundle these faxes into lawsuits. The result is companies being sued for not just one or two faxes sent to a single individual, but instead for hundreds of faxes sent to many different people.

So, if you are sending advertisements by fax, beware! The current law is not in your favor, and you can save all those fancy free speech arguments for the appeal. If a fax broadcast salesman knocks on your door, better tell them, but no thanks!

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