For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Bob Cooper
Date: March 10, 2008
Attorney General Sues Four More Fax Advertisers
(Boise) Attorney General Lawrence Wasden has filed lawsuits against four companies, alleging violations of Idaho’s unsolicited fax advertising law. In his lawsuits, Wasden alleges that the companies faxed hundreds of unsolicited advertisements to Idahoans, including Idaho businesses and government agencies.
“Sending unsolicited advertising by fax is illegal under Idaho law,” Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said. “The law does not require the recipient to contact the sender and ask that no further ads be sent. My office welcomes complaints from recipients of unsolicited fax advertising and will continue to pursue legal remedies against the senders.”
The lawsuits seek civil penalties and injunctive relief against: SunStar Travel and Tours of Altamonte Springs, Florida; Travelcomm Industries of Orlando, Florida; Slim America Labs, based in Walnut Grove, California, and Reno, Nevada; and, Hard Money Placement of Renton and Puyallup, Washington. The maximum civil penalty for violations of Idaho’s unsolicited fax advertising law is $5,000 for each unsolicited fax advertisement sent to an Idaho telephone number.
Two of the companies, SunStar Travel and Tours and Travelcomm Industries, are responsible for faxing more than 165 ads to Idaho consumers. The ads offer discount travel to a variety of destinations, such as Cancun, Orlando and the Bahamas.
SunStar Travel and Tours, which also operates under other names, including S-Star Travel and Vacation Clearinghouse, claims it only faxes to Canada and Europe. However, in its response to the Attorney General’s lawsuit, the company admitted that the telephone numbers on the Idaho faxes are registered to SunStar Travel and Tours.
Travelcomm Industries faxes ads that look like interoffice memos. The Attorney General alleges that Travelcomm does this in order to deceive consumers into believing the faxes originate from consumers’ employers. The company’s name does not appear on the fax, but the toll–free telephone number included on the fax is registered to Travelcomm Industries or one of its many related businesses.
Slim America Labs advertises, in its faxes, the “Slimagain Plus weight management system,” which, the ads claim, causes “rapid weight loss” and eliminates “unwanted fat without diet or exercise”. The advertisements, which display a photo of a person dressed as a health professional, imply that Dateline NBC, ABC News, “Women’s World” magazine and “Muscle and Fitness” magazine endorse the product. The ads also contain a handwritten note at the top, suggesting that the ad was faxed by a friend of the recipient.
Hard Money Placement advertises financial services, including funding for commercial and residential mortgages. The faxed ads display the company’s Renton and Puyallup, Washington, addresses, its telephone numbers, and its e–mail address. 17 of the 25 complaints received by the Attorney General regarding Hard Money Placement came from the Idaho Real Estate Commission, which has never done business with Hard Money Placement.
Since the Legislature outlawed unsolicited fax advertising in 1997, the Attorney General’s Office has enforced the law against 22 fax senders. As a result of the Attorney General’s enforcement actions, 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 (208) 334–2424. Idaho residents outside the Boise calling area may call the toll–free number, (800) 432–3545.
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