For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Bob Cooper
Date: November 5, 2004
Nation’s Largest “Fax-Spammer” Barred from Idaho
(Boise) - Fax.com, believed to be the largest volume "fax-spammer" in the United States, has been permanently enjoined from doing business in Idaho, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden announced today. During a news conference in Boise, Wasden said that his office has obtained a consent judgment against the California-based company.
"The Idaho Consumer Protection Act and the Idaho Telephone Solicitations Act prohibit sending unsolicited faxes," Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said. "The laws are clear and do not contain exceptions. This is not a situation where you have to tell the sender to stop. Anytime you receive an unsolicited ad by fax, the sender has violated the law."
The Attorney General filed a lawsuit against Fax.com in December 2003 alleging that the company sent hundreds of unsolicited fax advertisements to Idaho consumers. The complaint alleged that Fax.com used auto-dialers to locate active fax numbers, which Fax.com compiled into a computer database. Fax.com contracted with other businesses and sent unsolicited advertisements to the active fax machines on behalf of those businesses. Although consumers could call an "unsubscribe" number to remove their fax number from Fax.com's database, consumers often continued to receive advertisements. As of September 2004, Fax.com claimed its database contained more than 16 million fax numbers.
During the past three years, the Attorney General's Office received 278 complaints from individuals, businesses, and government agencies that received unwanted faxed advertisements for diet pills, vacations, work-at-home offers, health care plans, stock tips, and other goods and services.
"Unsolicited fax advertisements are both annoying and expensive to Idaho consumers and businesses," Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said. "They're annoying because you don't want this stuff in the first place and they're expensive because they use your paper, toner and electricity while tying up your phone line."
Along with enjoining Fax.com from sending faxes into Idaho, the agreement requires Fax.com to pay the Attorney General's Office a $5,000 civil penalty and $2,997.00 in attorney fees and costs. The agreement also subjects Fax.com to liquidated damages of up to $5,000 for each unsolicited fax it sends into Idaho in the future.
"My office will vigorously enforce the terms of this consent order," Attorney General Wasden said. "In addition, we are taking steps toward building cases against other fax-spammers. While it's not realistic to think that we can completely stop illegal faxes, I encourage Idaho consumers and businesses who receive unsolicited fax advertisements to continue filing complaints with my office."
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