FCC SETS RECORD FINE FOR 'JUNK FAXES'

$5.4 Million Against Fax.com for Sending Unsolicited Ads

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WASHINGTON (AdAge.com) -- The Federal Communications Commission today issued its largest fine ever proposed, almost $5.4 million, against a company accused of sending "junk faxes" to consumers and businesses.

The FCC set the fine against Fax.com, contending the company engaged in a "pervasive and egregious pattern of deception" in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which protects against unsolicited faxes, telemarketing calls and prerecorded messages, among other things.

The fine is also the first levied against a "fax broadcaster."

489 violations
The FCC said in a

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statement Fax.com sent unsolicited advertisements for a fee on behalf of other businesses, and was in violation of the law 489 times.

Also, the FCC said its staff is issuing over 100 citations and letters of inquiry to businesses that used Fax.com to send their ads, warning them they may face fines of up to $11,000 per violation if they continue to send unsolicited fax ads.

Fax.com didn't return calls by press time, but in the past the company has argued that the section of the law barring junk faxes is unconstitutional.

In March a U.S. District Court in Missouri ruled for the company against the state, saying the government had not shown there was either adequate harm coming from the faxes for the government to ban them or that the ban as written would significantly reduce junk faxes.

The state is appealing the decision.

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