The Rise of the Fax: Should We Call the Ghostbusters?

Posted: October 9, 2015

fax-ghost-2Here we are, in the modern day of 2015, facing the terrors of legislation regarding communications via email, auto dialers, and text messaging. Who knew facsimile (fax) legislation would still be around to haunt us? While many of us may believe that fax campaigns are a thing of the past, there have been many class action law suits over the past year to remind us just how relevant they still are. Recently, companies in varying industries such as office equipment, TV/entertainment, fast food, and testing and inspection have all been hit with class actions concerning their faxing practices. These companies have faced settlement fees totaling $48.5 million dollars, as well as the possibility of bankruptcy.

It’s always important to stay on top of new legislation. In light of recent events, a refresher on the FCC’s Junk Fax Prevention Act may be necessary. We’ve come up with 3 tips to help you with your solicitous faxing campaigns.

  1. Obtain express permission
    According to the Act, you may only send faxes to customers if you have an established business relationship (EBR), and the customers has voluntarily provided their number to you. This can include an application, a contact information form, or any instance in which the customer voluntarily agreed to make his or her fax number publicly available in a directory, advertisement, or on an Internet site. If you have obtained the fax number from a directory or a third party, be sure to verify that the consumer consented to have their number listed and did not note that they do not wish accept unsolicited advertisements
  2. Always include an opt-out notice
    Simply embedding an opt-out notice somewhere in your advertisement is not enough for the FCC. There are a few requirements concerning opt-out mechanisms that you must follow in order for your fax solicitations to be considered compliant. The opt-out notice a telephone number, a fax number, and a cost-free mechanism for the consumer to make an opt-out request must be clearly and conspicuously published on the first page. In addition to this, opt-out requests must be acceptable 24-hours a day, seven days a week from the number provided.
  3. Honoring opt-out requests
    If a consumer makes an opt-out request, the FCC requires that you honor the request within the shortest reasonable time, not to exceed 30 days. Also, the consumer must also be aware that you are required to honor the request within 30 days so be sure to include that tidbit in the opt-out disclosure.

For more information regarding fax requirements or any other state or federal consumer contact requirements, please reach out to us at consulting@compliancepoint.com.

 

Alex Sharpe

Author: Alex Sharpe

Alex Sharpe is a Consultant at CompliancePoint. She works with clients in a variety of industries and aims to keep them updated on the latest changes in the regulatory environment related to U.S. federal and state consumer contact requirements and direct marketing compliance. Her focus is on helping clients navigate and understand how the regulations affect their business. Alex has earned her Customer Engagement Compliance Professional (CECP) certification from the Professional Association for Customer Engagement (PACE) and has a B.B.A. in Management from the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business.

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