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Under the guise of the Junk Fax Protection Act, new regulations were recently released by the Federal Communications Commission, making it easier for companies to send unsolicited faxes to your home or business.

Prior rules required that a company first get written permission before faxing an unsolicited advertisement.  However, businesses complained to Congress, claiming that those rules were too restrictive and lobbied for a change.  The FCC’s new rules assume that permission has been granted if (1) you have an “established business arrangement” with the company and (2) you have voluntarily given them your fax number.  However, to establish the necessary business relationship, all one needs to do is make a simple inquiry to the company.  Additionally, you are deemed to have voluntarily given your fax number if your number is listed in a business directory, in an advertisement, or on your website.  Business owners may want to consider placing restrictive language in their advertisements or on their website.

The new rules also require companies that fax advertisements provide recipients a way to opt out of future faxes.  The notice must be clear and conspicuous on the first page of the advertisement, include a telephone number, a fax number and a cost-free way to contact the company.  The company must honor your request within 30 days.  The law provides for damages up to $500 per violation, that can be trebled if the company willingly or knowingly commits the violation.

Given the less restrictive FCC regulations and the fact that many fax blasters are located outside of the United States, it is almost certain that you will be discovering more unwanted faxes at home and in your business fax machines in the near future.

For further information in addressing this modern day nuisance, please contact Peter Califano.

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