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Everyone has their own idea about what spam fax or junk fax is, however legal definitions may not match your opinion of the pile of advisements spilling out of your fax machine or fax service inbox.. On the other hand, if your company utilizes fax marketing, then you also have your own view on fax advertisements.

As of July 9, 2005, the new junk fax exemptions, in many ways, protect companies that send unsolicited faxes (except in the state of California). The new exemption to the established law protects companies that have "established a business relationship" with the recipient. However, if your company intends to launch a fax marketing campaign, consult the law in its entirety to discover all details and stipulations guiding unsolicited fax advertising.

Conversely, if you are receiving unwanted faxes, what can you do?

How to Stop Unwanted Spam Faxes

The Junk Fax Prevention Act, enacted on July 9 of 2005 by Congress, amends the previously established act by permitting businesses or entities to send unsolicited advertisements to consumers and businesses with which the sender has an established business relationship. It also requires senders of fax advertisements to include a notice and contact information on the cover page informing the recipient how to opt out of any future fax advertisements.

However, even if you opt out, that does not stop other entities or businesses from sending unwanted faxes. Here are a few things you can do:

  • Contact the sender directly
  • Take advantage of the opt out option
  • File a complaint with the FCC, at www.fcc.gov/cgb/complaints.html
  • Install a spam filter device between the fax machine and the incoming phone line
  • Consider using an online fax service and using your email filtering options

If you are a legitimate fax service or broadcaster, how do you know if someone is using your service to send illegal faxes?

FCC regulations state, "The person or business on whose behalf an unsolicited fax advertisement is sent is liable even if they did not physically send the fax themselves." A fax broadcaster (the person or entity transmitting messages to a fax machine on another person s behalf) may also be liable if it has "a high degree of involvement" in the sender s fax messages, such as supplying the fax numbers to which a message is sent.

With this in mind, here are a few warning signs that your customer may be using your services for illegal purposes:

  • Large volume faxing
  • Consecutive phone numbers
  • A large quantity of unique numbers
  • The customer is listed on the FCC website enforcement page, Telecommunications Consumers Division, Unsolicited Faxes

If your company practices fax marketing, what can you do?

Target your market. As long as your recipient wants to receive notifications, special deals, sale announcements or coupons from your company you should not have any worries. In fact, with this kind of specific marketing your percentage of positive returns might increase. Secondly, honor returned opt-outs and discontinue random dialing and untargeted marketing campaigns to avoid possible lawsuits or bad publicity.

Fax communications can produce positive results for both advertisers and customers and generate win/win results if applied using common sense and mutual consent.

To decide which fax service to use, see our online fax comparisons.

References:

109th Congress 1st Session S.714, (2005). Junk fax prevention act of 2005 (engrossed as agreed to or passed by senate). Retrieved Jan. 06, 2006, from Junk Fax Web site: http://www.junkfax.org/fax/legislation/jfpa2005.htm .

Federal Communications Commission, (n.d.). Unwanted faxes: what you can do. Retrieved Jan. 06, 2006, from Consumer & Government Affairs Bureau Web site: http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/unwantedfaxes.html .

Junk Fax, (n.d.). How to investigate a notice of junk fax violation: guide for fax broadcasters and common carriers. Retrieved Jan. 06, 2006, from JunkFax.org Web site: http://www.junkfax.org/fax/basic_info/HowToInvestigateNotice.html .

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