For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Bob Cooper
(208) 334-4112

Date: March 7, 2008

Wasden Obtains $500,000 Judgment Against Texas Faxer

(Boise) – A Texas company that sent more than 100 unsolicited fax advertisements to Idaho consumers has been ordered to pay $500,000 in penalties to the State of Idaho, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said. Wasden’s office obtained a $500,000 judgment in Fourth District Court in Ada County against The Hot Lead Company of Plano, Texas. The Hot Lead Company is now prohibited from doing business in Idaho.

The company primarily advertises discount life insurance products, but also advertises that it generates leads for other businesses.

In addition to ordering the civil penalties, Fourth District Judge Deborah Bail also ordered The Hot Lead Company to pay $500 in restitution and $1,744.61 in attorney fees and costs. The restitution is intended to reimburse consumers for the toner, paper, and electricity that The Hot Lead Company used without consumers’ authorization, Wasden said. Once recovered from the business, the restitution will be distributed to consumers at the rate of five dollars for each Hot Lead Company fax complaint the consumer submitted to the Attorney General’s Office.

Sending unsolicited advertising by fax is illegal under Idaho law. The law does not require the recipient to contact the sender and ask that no further ads be sent.

“Unsolicited faxes continue to be an illegal, annoying and costly nuisance to Idaho residents and Idaho businesses,” Attorney General Wasden said. “The complaints we receive from consumers express continuing frustration with businesses that disregard Idaho’s unsolicited fax laws. We will continue to make this clear to the fax-spammers by pursuing lawsuits and significant fines against them.”

Since the Legislature outlawed unsolicited fax advertising in 1997, the Attorney General’s Office has pursued enforcement actions against 22 fax senders. As a result of the Attorney General’s enforcement activities, those companies have ceased sending faxes into Idaho and, collectively, paid more than $225,000 in civil penalties.

In 2007, Idaho consumers reported receiving 1,196 unsolicited faxes, a 50% decrease from 2006. Of the 265 unwanted faxes already reported to the Attorney General in 2008, 28% advertised discount travel, 27% advertised stock tips, 23% advertised discount health care and prescription medication, and 22% advertised other goods and services.

Wasden said his office welcomes unsolicited fax ad complaints from Idaho consumers. Consumers may obtain a complaint form from Attorney General Wasden’s Internet site or by calling 334-2424. Idaho residents outside the Boise calling area may call the toll–free number, (800) 432–3545.

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