Created: 1995. Updated: 2004

Junk Faxes

(How to Get Rid of Junk Mail, Spam, and Telemarketers)

Unsolicited faxes are illegal, according to U.S. law. See:

Also see Cornell law archives: US Code Title 47, Section 227(b)(1)(C):
	"It shall be unlawful for any person within the United States to
	 use any telephone facsimile machine, computer, or other device
	 to send an unsolicited advertisement to a telephone facsimile

A "telephone facsimile machine" is defined in Sec.227(a)(2)(B) as:

	"equipment which has the capacity to transcribe text or images
	 (or both) from an electronic signal received over a regular
	 telephone line onto paper."

Under this definition, an e-mail account, modem, computer and printer
together constitute a fax machine.

The rights of action are as follows.  Under Sec.227(b)(3)(B):

	"A person or entity may, if otherwise permitted by the laws or
	 rules of court of a State, bring in an appropriate court of
	 that State --

	  (A) an action based on a violation of this subsection or the
	      regulations prescribed under this subsection to enjoin
	      such violation,
	  (B) an action to recover for actual monetary loss from such a
	      violation, or to receive $500 in damages for each such
	      violation, whichever is greater, or
	  (C) both such actions. If the court finds that the defendant
	      willfully or knowingly violated this subsection or the
	      regulations prescribed under this subsection, the court
	      may, in its discretion, increase the amount of the award
	      to an amount equal to not more than 3 times the amount
	      available under subparagraph (B) of this paragraph."

If you receive junk faxes, you might want to file suit in small claims court. Nevertheless, here is an interesting solution:
Faxes generally specify the fax number of the sender. To really get the attention of the originator, create a complaint letter written in 72 point font (1 inch height) which produces, for a typical two-paragraph one-page letter, about 17 or 18 pages of text that can be read from across the room. Fax the letter to the advertiser. One person using this technique has received calls of apology from CEO's whose staff members felt compelled to bring this unusual style of complaint to their attention.

For additional information, see:

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Copyright 1995-2004 Fred Elbel. This material may be freely used and distributed only for non-commercial purposes, with credit. Nothing in this web site should be construed as legal advice. This web site is provided for information purposes only. Opinions presented are those of the author (or of other contributors as indicated). Trademarks and copyrighted items remain the property of the owner.