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Basic information about junk faxes

Do you...

  • Hate answering the phone or voicemail and hearing a fax tone? 
  • Hate getting disturbed at 5am (or all night) by fax calls (even if you don't even have a fax machine)? 
  • Hate having your ink, paper, and fax machine being used by people who are breaking the law? 
  • Want to put a stop to this?
  • Want to have them pay you at least $500 and as much as $1,500 per fax?

The Federal law passed in 1991 known as the TCPA makes it illegal to send any material transmitted via facsimile that advertises the commercial availability or quality of any property, goods, or services which is transmitted to any person without that person's prior express invitation or permission. If the fax was deliberately sent to you (as most junk faxes are), federal law entitles you to recover a minimum of $500 and, depending the judge's discretion, up to $1,500 for each such fax that you receive.

Unlike what some businesses may tell you, until just recently there was no "established business relationship (EBR) exemption" from the law. Unfortunately, in July 2005, Congress decided people weren't getting enough junk faxes so they decided to add an EBR exemption so that businesses could send you unwanted advertising at your expense. See the Junk fax Q&A for details.

So if they send you COMMERCIAL ADVERTISING by fax without your prior consent, they may be liable. Political statements and fundraising faxes are OK (guess you know who wrote THAT law).

Many people get $2,500 per fax in small claims court. I recently got a judgment for over $40,000 for 16 junk faxes sent to me by an advertiser. The trial lasted about 15 minutes. Here's the proof it can be done: FirstChartered.pdf

Federal law applies in all 50 states and cannot be superseded by state law. You can sue in your local small claims court in many cases.

"The scourge of commercial faxing won't stop until there is a critical mass of litigants"    

- Chris Hoofnagle,
Legislative Counsel
Electronic Privacy Information Center

"Junk faxes are not only an inconvenience to consumers, but they waste money,  time and interfere with crucial businesses operations. In order to do business in today's world you need a fax machine. The intent of the machine  is to communicate with friends, family, and business partners. It is not an  open invitation for unscrupulous advertisers to block your phone lines, run up your operating budget, and waste paper. 

- Dan Jacobson, Legislative Advocate, CALPIRG

The law was written specifically to enable individuals to enforce the law. If you know the law, you can help rid the country of this nuisance while making thousands of dollars per month extra income in your spare time. I do. Others have. And so can you. This site will tell you how.

For things you can do, see: Junkfax: How to get even