FCC Junk Fax rule - New Fax rule is effective August 1, 2006


 FCC Junk Fax rule - New Fax rule is effective August 1, 2006

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has established new rules to prevent junk faxes. On August 1st, 2006, these rules will go into effect and should be followed to avoid any issues.

"According to the FCC, 'One of the major aims of the recent Junk Fax Prevention Act is to protect consumers from unwanted phone solicitations and stale fax advertising.'" The FCC further explains that "the new law [goes] into effect on August 1st, 2006, and helps prevent millions of wasted minutes."

This article covers the new rule which will go into effect on August 1st and how it relates to Fax advertising.

The New Fax Rule

The new rule requires that advertisers who send fax ads include their phone number, the date and time of the fax and a fax number to the consumer's opt out list. The FCC explains this new law by stating "If a consumer places his or her number on an opt-out list, no one may send him or her any unsolicited advertising faxes."

This is not a change in rules, but rather a clarification on how faxes must be handled. Junk faxers need to contact every recipient and get their permission before sending out any junk faxes. This will ensure that each person is okay with receiving any informational or promotional material over the phone.

The opt-out lists should be easy to find and the information needed should be easily obtainable. For example, if you have been on a list for five years and are getting junk faxes every day with no action taken, there is probably something wrong with the list or with how junk faxes work.

It is also possible that the opt-out list was not updated regularly and there has been some kind of mix up concerning who is on what list. If you want to join an opt-out list, visit www.DoNotFax.gov under the "Office Automation" tab to locate what fax numbers are going where.

All faxes sent to people on the opt-out list should be in compliance with the new rule. For example, if someone is on the list and has been getting junk faxes for 20 years and you send out a new one, you are still in violation of the law.

More information can be found at www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/junk.html including where opt-out lists are accessible and what the process of opting out is. Instructions have also been included if you are not sure how to opt out or if you would like to opt back in.

How Faxes Work

Faxes have been around for a long time, but most people don't realize that they work the same way as email. Even though it is being described as phone advertising, faxes have nothing to do with a phone call and are not an actual telephone call. Faxes are sent from one fax machine to another fax machine. The process of sending an information or promotional material from one fax machine to another is called "faxing."

Most of us get junk faxes because we allow so many companies to send us information they think we want (by simply moving our number on their opt-out lists). The new rule should help you avoid these types of messages.

Most of the junk faxes we get are advertisements, but they also include political material, membership information and government related information like veterans benefits or energy assistance. The important thing to keep in mind is that these types of marketing materials must be sent under the new rules and will receive the consumer's attention if you send out a junk fax that does not have this information.

The market for the promotion of business and government services is so large, it is impossible to know what kind of information each advertiser can use or how much it cost. A simple opt-out list will help to remove those who don't need such a message (and those who may want your services).

If you have any questions concerning this matter or if you would like to discuss different options for advertising, please contact me at 614-876-9384 or click on the "email" link at the top of this page.

27 CFR § 41.41 – Use of telephone facsimile machines.
29 CFR § 1604.7 – Prohibition against dumping of hazardous waste at sea; exemptions and exclusions; definitions.
LA Times, "Advertisers must include phone number on faxes: Junk faxes are primarily a nuisance to businesses", 2006. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2006/05/18/BUGPU8D7HGI1.DTL&type=business
January 16th, 2006, Fax rules updated.
US EPA, "Office of Wastewater Management", 2005-2006, 4 pages, http://www.epa.gov/owm/water/index.htm
US EPA, "Wastewater Management Plans", 2002, http://www.epa.gov/opptintr/wastesurvivor/wmp_wmp.htm
US EPA, "Toxics Use Reduction Information for the Environment - T4Healthy Chemical Information Database", 2001-2002, 6 pages, http://www.epa.gov/opptintr/healthtoxicsinforcetoxicsusereductioninformationfortheenvironment-t4healthychemicalinformationdatabase.


The new opt-out rule should help to prevent junk faxes from being sent. The information on the opt-out list should be easy to locate and should provide the consumer with the ease of opting out. Hopefully, this will put a stop to junk faxes for good.

If you have any questions about the new rule, contact me at 614-876-9384 or click on the "email" link at the top of this page.

US EPA, "Office of Wastewater Management", 2005-2006, 4 pages, http://www.epa.gov/owm/water/index.

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