Thursday, August 18, 2005

Fax Advertisements

Once upon a time, there was a client starting a gourmet food store. The client wished to obtain a list of business fax numbers for the neighborhood immediately surrounding the store with the intent of faxing lunch menus. A bit of digging at the Research Network revealed that while this advertising method appears inexpensive it is unlawful and therefore could end up costing the client quite a bit.

According to a notice on the Federal Trade Commission web site, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act bans unsolicited fax advertisements. "The Act makes it unlawful for anyone to fax an unsolicited ad to another individual or business if there is no prior business relationship - and the penalty for each violation is $500 or up to $1,500 if a company willfully and knowingly violates the law."

Now, what if the gourmet food store had established a prior business relationship with the recipient of the fax? Then, the gourmet food store could send the unsolicited fax. However, after January 9, 2006, the gourmet food store will not only have to have a prior business relationship but also must obtain a prior signed, written statement as evidence of the recipient's permission to receive the fax. Read the Press Release at the FCC web site.

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