FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
News media information 202/418-0500
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
August 7, 2002
NEWS MEDIA CONTACT:|
John Winston (202) 418-7450
The Commission determined that Fax.com, which operates as a ``Fax Broadcaster'' faxing messages on behalf of others for a fee, apparently violated the TCPA and the Commission's rules on 489 separate occasions. Moreover, the Commission found that Fax.com appears to have engaged in a pattern of deception to conceal its involvement in sending the prohibited faxes, and that the company has not been forthcoming in its dealings with the agency.
In view of the ``pervasive and egregious pattern of deception'' underlying the apparent violations and the gravity of Fax.com's conduct, the Commission concluded that Fax.com is apparently liable for the maximum fine of $11,000 for each of the 489 fax violations, for a total proposed fine of $5,379,000.
In related actions, the Commission staff is issuing over 100 citations and letters of inquiry to businesses that used Fax.com to send their advertisements to telephone facsimile machines. The citations warn the businesses that they may face fines of up to $11,000 per violation if they continue to send unsolicited fax advertisements.
Action by the Commission on August 2, 2002 by Notice of Apparent Liability, (FCC 02-226). Chairman Powell; Commissioners Abernathy (issuing a separate statement), Copps and Martin.
File No. EB-02-TC-120
Enforcement Bureau contacts: John Winston at (202) 418-7450, and Colleen Heitkamp at (202) 418-7320.
SEPARATE STATEMENT OF COMMISSIONER KATHLEEN Q. ABERNATHY
Re: Fax.com Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, File No. EB-02-TC-120 (released August 7, 2002).
I strongly support this Notice of Apparent Liability and hope that other fax broadcasters will take notice that the Commission will strictly enforce the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. As set forth in detail in the NAL, Fax.com appears to have founded its business on the practice of sending unsolicited faxes in flagrant violation of the TCPA. The record also suggests that Fax.com deliberately misled consumers regarding the company's requirements and consumers' rights under the TCPA. Despite repeated warnings from the Commission and numerous consumer complaints, the company appears to have made no effort to mend its ways. As a result, many consumers have been harassed in their homes and had their businesses disrupted by unwanted fax solicitations ~ and, adding insult to injury, were forced to pay for this privilege.
This NAL makes clear that the Commission will not tolerate such conduct; indeed, we propose to punish Fax.com to the maximum extent of our statutory authority. When I became a Commissioner, I pledged to protect consumers by stringently enforcing the Communications Act and the Commission's rules. I am proud that the Commission is taking this responsibility seriously and sending such a strong signal that companies cannot violate the law with impunity.