How to get them to stop and/or get even
If you just want to stop the junk fax calls, see How to stop junk faxes
for the two secret phone numbers to call to stop your junk faxes.
Or if you want to invest a lot more time and do some work on your own to
determine who is sending you the junk so you can tell them to stop, please see:
How to identify the fax sender
and get them to stop
We recommend that you always save your junk faxes that you do receive. You
can analyze them later to determine the sender and then call to stop those calls
If you want to take action against the senders, your decision on whether to take action yourself or not depends on these
- Can you find out who your faxes are from? You can sue both
the advertiser and the fax broadcaster.
- How easy will it be to win? This depends on how much of fight your
defendant puts up as well as how good the judges are in your area.
- When you win, how easy will it be to collect? This will
depend on whether the businesses are honest or dishonest; must companies who
send junk faxes are in the latter category since honest companies don't
break the law. And if they break the law on this, they are going to break
the law in your collection attempts too.
- How much time do you want to spend on this? It's going to
be more than you think if you do it yourself.
Of course, if you are not looking for money, but just want to
prevent them from sending you or anyone else faxes, it's much simpler. Look at
Step #0 and Step #10.
Here's a checklist of things you can do:
Save all your junk faxes. The more faxes you have, the more "leverage"
you'll have in anything you might do in the future where it is to sue directly
or join a lawsuit. NEVER throw away your junk
faxes. NEVER. For example, if you join a suit that goes after a fax
broadcaster or common carrier, you may find hundreds of faxes worth $2,500 each.
At a minimum, the more faxes you have from a given defendant, the more leverage
you will have in having your lawyer contacting them threatening to sue.
Sort the faxes by the "response" number. Find the biggest pile. If you have
more than 10 faxes from the same response number, call the response number to
find out who the company really is and where they are located. You'll have to
make them believe you are a real customer before they'll tell you where they are
located. Then, contact one of the Junk fax
attorneys who are located in the state where your sender is located. The
reason for that is because that way, you can use the same attorney for
collections (which is most easily handled in the state of the sender) as for the
case itself (which can be brought either where you got the fax or where the
sender is located).
See The two secret phone numbers to call to stop most
of your junk faxes. If you enter your contact information on this page,
we'll 1) tell you the two phone numbers you can call to stop 80% of your junk
faxes and 2) keep you updated so that if we discover new numbers that you can
call to stop even more junk faxes, we'll let you know via email.
Find out who is sending you this by visiting:
How to identify the fax
broadcaster. It's usually more time effective to go after the fax
broadcaster since you can recover more $ per time invested than going after each
If you want to help put them out of business, and don't mind getting about 1
email a month notifying you of "opportunities to help", then please
join one of these groups:
These are "moderator announcement only" groups so there is no spam and only
about 1 message a month. Be sure to set notification options to Individual
Emails (otherwise, you'll never get anything).
The announcements will be opportunities for you to help out "I'm suing
XXX. If you have faxes that look like the ones on this webpage, you can assign
your claim to me and I will use that to help shut them down."
If you are really "into it" and want to exchange stories with other people, you
Note that unlike the groups in Step #2, this is an "open forum" for swapping information about the
perpetrators. It is not moderated, so you'd want to set your notification
preferences as you see fit.
If you want to take matters into your own hands and don't mind spending a
bunch of hours to do that, you can sue in small claims court. I can tell you
that small claims works. For example, I got 16 faxes from First Chartered
Investments and after a 15 minute hearing, walked out with 16 judgments for
$2,500 each, a total of over $40,000 (see
FirstChartered.pdf). Here's how to do it:
How to get $2,500 per junk fax in small claims
If you don't want to spend the time to learn all that stuff, then you can
join an existing lawsuit by registering here:
Junkfax registration for lawsuit participation. There are suits right now
being drafted against all 3 major broadcasters.
If you got a pump and dump fax, report it:
Report a pump and dump junk fax
If you want to know how to handle certain situations, please see the
Junk fax Q&A. The Q&A covers the
most frequently asked questions like:
- I get calls at night. How do I stop them?
- I get fax calls on my cell phone. How do I stop them?
You can hire an attorney. Many will work on a contingency basis (i.e., it
doesn't cost you anything). see Junk fax attorneys
If you are an attorney (or are VERY serious about pursuing junk faxes), you
should join the Junk fax plaintiff's litigation support forum [Junkfax-l] at http://www.oklahoma-isp.net/mailman/listinfo/junkfax-l.
When I first started out, I used to sue for $1,500 and settle
for $500. For example, see the $500
check I got from LoanNow Financial (Fairon & Associates. Today, I sue
for $2,500 per page and settle for $1,500 if I don't have go to court. That's a good
deal for the Defendant because they can check my court record: in 50 cases, I've never lost a
case and I never give up on my collection efforts; they'll pay sooner or later
(some dishonest people are good at making themselves hard to collect).
In fact, it's now unusual for people to only get the statutory
minimum of $500 per fax. See 2005-ohio-97
where the Ohio Court of Appeals told a trial court that $500 per fax was not
Step #10 Putting a permanent stop to the junk faxes with an
I've been doing this for 3 years and the only way I know about
to put these guys permanently out of the illegal junk faxing game is by getting
a nationwide injunction prohibiting them from sending any more junk faxes. If
they violate the injunction, they can get slapped with 5 days in jail for each
contempt, i.e., for EVERY illegal fax sent after the order issues. You can see
why this is so effective!
Another approach is to bring a class action against the phone
carrier that is carrying their traffic. You can do that 30 days after notifying
them they are carrying illegal traffic if the phone company doesn't stop. You
can sue for $100M or more.
It's not that
hard to do and it might only take 30 days from when you first file in court.
You can file in state court or, if you meet diversity and amount of
controversy for each plaintiff, federal court. State court is easiest and
Note it doesn't cost a lot of money because you don't have to spend thousands of
dollars on legal expenses trying to get the "perfect brief." You just present
your case and if the judge is smart enough, you'll win. If you don't win, you
can try again with different faxes and a different judge. Eventually, they will
lose and you will win. That's how it is supposed to work: justice is supposed to
Here's how you do it.
- Hire an attorney to do the steps below. You can do it
yourself, but attorneys have greater "credibility factor" making
it more likely you'll get the preliminary injunction that is critical to
putting an end to the illegal faxes. Even better, you can find
excellent attorneys who work for free; it's called contingency and they
essentially trade their services for about 35% of the final judgment. If
you can't find a contingency attorney, I've found others willing to work
for as little as $100/hr on these cases (since they are quasi
"charitable" in nature) even if very pricey areas like San Francisco. Try starting here:
Junk fax attorneys
- Identify the junk faxer or broadcaster that is ticking
you off (see step 1.5 above)
- Find a case where your junk faxer has already lost. Your
attorney can do that by asking on the junkfax list (see step #9), searching
court cases, or looking on TCPA law (www.tcpalaw.com).
If you can't find such a case, don't worry because you can still do the process below; it's just
easier if you do since it makes it more obvious an injunction is
- File a case in your nearest state court in any court that
will issue injunctions. Normally, this is not small claims, but is limited jurisdiction or higher. Have your attorney draft your complaint to
seek both injunctive relief and monetary (statutory) damages under the TCPA.
- Make sure you keep the monetary demand in the case to
less than $75,000. Otherwise, you can get removed to federal court and then
potentially be transferred back to state court. By keeping it to less than $75,000, you
avoid this commonly used delaying tactic and save time. If state court
doesn't work, then try federal court (if you have enough faxes to qualify)
- Be sure to name both the company and its officers. Because the company is an
tortfeasor, the officers may be personally
liable if they authorized the illegal activity (just as happened in the fax.com
- The TCPA specifically allows you to get an injunction so
it is authorized by statute. Also, it has been done before where a state
court orders a defendant (which can be in state or out of state) to stop
sending junk faxes to ANYWHERE in the US (see the cases below).
Therefore, after you file and serve your case, immediately go in
with a noticed motion for a preliminary injunction naming the the company and its
officers and anyone else who has notice of the order. Note that the
coverage of the injunction will be much broader than just the named
Defendants (see real life cases below, e.g., the fax.com injunction). You should be able to get
this if you have a good judge.
Each state will have a different standard. For California, see TRG:
Civil Proc. Before Trial [9:519 ff].
The federal standard is that a preliminary injunction may be granted if
the moving party demonstrates either:
- a likelihood of success on the merits and the possibility of
- that serious questions going to the merits were raised and the
balance of hardships tips sharply in its favor.
These are not different tests, but rather represent "two points on a
sliding scale in which the required degree of irreparable harm increases as
the probability of success on the merits decreases." In addition,
if a public interest is involved, the Court should also consider if the grant
of a preliminary injunction favors the public interest (see Memorandum of Points & Authority
This has been done before so you are on solid ground. Also, since there is
no oral testimony (other than affidavits and declarations), it is very
inexpensive to do. Here are some arguments you can use:
- Likelihood of success: If you found a case they lost, then
you've nailed "likelihood of success on the merits" since a
court of competent jurisdiction has evaluated both the law and facts
and found in your favor. Otherwise, you'll have to bring affidavits,
e.g., of their customers who attest that they did things that violate
the law. But my favorite argument is this.... You honor, I see they
are opposing this motion. Why would they bother to oppose the motion
if all their faxes are legal?
- Balance of hardships: Since you are only asking that they not
violate the law, it is pretty hard to argue that they can be harmed in
any way since they aren't supposed to be doing anything illegal. That
gives you balance of hardships. They could still argue that the law is
illegal but with no cases to stand on (every case has determined the
opposite), that argument won't fly.
- Legal remedy must be inadequate: Since the law provides for
injunctions, you are on solid ground.
- Irreparable harm: Since the statute allows for an injunction
this shouldn't be a problem. If you are suing a broadcaster, you could
note that pump and dump faxes cause people to lose their life savings.
That money is gone forever since the scam artists disappear or hide
the money offshore. Other faxes wake people up. Sometimes, so many
faxes come in that the fax machine will not receive any more faxes
resulting in an unknown amount of lost business.
- Don't try to get a TRO immediately because 1) it's harder
to get 2) it's only a few extra days to go for a preliminary injunction,
3) you have to get the Preliminary Injunction anyway so the TRO just adds
to your costs. Then when you win, you seek a permanent injunction.
- Here's are real life cases to prove it can be done:
- Once you have an injunction, they are dead meat and you
continue to try to get $ damages for your faxes.
- There is one big catch....For preliminary injunction, the
judge will require you to post a bond to compensate the other party in the
event things don't go your way and you lose. That $ amount might be
substantial. If it is, then you make the injunction part of the case and
when you win, you have a permanent injunction with no bond requirement.
However, the bond shouldn't be large at all because you're only enjoining
illegal behavior. For example, the Defendant will have to show which
customers are adversely affected by the injunction. This means the
Defendant will be admitting to the judge they ARE sending unsolicited
faxes. So the preliminary injunction, even if unsuccessful, causes the
defendant to WANT to admit to you they KNOW they are sending unsolicited
faxes. So even if you lose, you can use that evidence later on in your
trial, e.g., for a broadcaster, it shows that they had actual notice and
failed to stop the transmissions.
- If they violate the injunction (which you can show
because others are getting faxes traced back to them; have your attorney
contact us for secret techniques they can use to determine this), then they
are really hosed. Each junk fax they send out after the injunction means 5
days in jail for each of the people who run the company. So if they send out
just 30 junk faxes after the order (we're talking 30 faxes here, not 30 days
of faxes), they can get 6 months in jail in one
hearing and without the right to a jury trial. If the judge is willing to go
through a jury trial, then they can spend a virtually unlimited amount of time in
jail on thousands of counts of contempt (each fax constitutes one contempt
which is punishable by up to 5 days in jail).
- Note that in California, contempt is up to 5 days in jail
per contempt; your state law may be different. See In federal court, contempt
sentences per contempt are unlimited.
- The fact that the junk faxer is out of state is
immaterial. Some of these jokers think they are safe from an out of state
court but they aren't if YOU are smart enough. You do an ex parte OSC re:
contempt and personally serve it on the contemnors (the court can order
substituted service for OSCs). If they appear, they can be sentenced to jail
right on the spot. If they don't appear, you simply convince the judge to
issue a bench warrant for their arrest and you MUST ensure that the warrant
is marked as "extraditable" and have it entered into NCIC (the "National
Crime Information Center" which a computerized index of criminal justice
information). Make sure the judge talks to the DA about this. This is
critical. Without the "extraditable" and NCIC, the bench warrant is
- Once the warrant is in NCIC and extraditable, any peace
officer can arrest the officers and have them transported back to your state
to face their sentence of 6 months (or more) in jail for contempt.
- Because out of state civil bench warrants for FTA
(failure to appear) have the lowest priority for the cops and sheriff, they
may never be arrested. Therefore, you can speed things up by hiring a
professional bounty hunter. This isn't that expensive. It's basically $150
plus expenses. As long as your pals are in NCIC and extraditable, they can
go into any state and find your guy and then transport him to a county
within that state that will honor out of state extradition to your state.
Call Robert at 808-368-2455 (U.S.
Pacific Recovery Services).
- If they are in your state and you just have a civil bench warrant that
is not extraditable, you can still use a bounty hunter to bring them to
court faster than just waiting around. Most bounty hunters do not know how
to handle these cases since they normally work for bail bonds companies and
just go after people who skip bail. Call Robert at
808-368-2455; they will handle civil bench warrant cases.
The bottom line is that if you get a good lawyer and a good
judge, they either stop or they are thrown in jail. Use the contact link if you
have trouble with any of the steps, and we can help.
If you get a bad judge (or bad lawyer), you simply repeat the
process again and the most you've wasted in your case is one motion. You'll get a different judge and you can re-use your paperwork.
You get as many chances to have these guys put out of the junk faxing business
as the # of faxes you have. Eventually, you'll get a judge with a good spine and
justice will be served.
Therefore, sooner or later, they are out of business due to
your efforts...guaranteed. There is no escape; which is why I'm not afraid of
publishing the strategy here. This is how fax.com, formerly the world's largest
junk faxer, was put out of business, through the injunction process and the
threat of contempt. They chose to quit rather than sit in jail.
Another excellent strategy is to file in state court for $74,000 on your own
faxes and get assigned faxes for over that amount. If they remove to federal
court, they'll have to argue the assignment is valid (and the federal court will
too)! That would be a huge win. Instead, they'll attack the assignment which
keeps you in state court. If you lose, no big deal; you've lost no upside
because you just amend your complaint to add them as separate plaintiffs. If you
win, it creates a really powerful way to get BIG judgments in the future.
Here are some injunctions against junk faxers (or TCPA
fdc_CaAGinjunction10-5-04.pdf: fax.com. This injunction from a federal
court, was nationwide.
brown_v_satex.pdf: Sound Media Group. This injunction issued by a
California state court prevents Sound Media Group, which is based in
California, from causing junk faxes to be sent from anywhere in the US to
anywhere in the US.