Mortgage companies targeted for unsolicited fax adsDouglas A. TurnerUnsolicited faxes
A group of Colorado lawyers and enterprising debt collectors are
filing hundreds of lawsuits alleging violations of federal anti-fax
laws, and mortgage companies that send fax advertisements are the
prime targets of these lawsuits.
Have you noticed that you do not get as many unsolicited faxes
these days? This is because a federal law is now in place
prohibiting unsolicited fax advertisements. If you violate the law
and send an ad touting your spectacular, low-interest rate deals,
it could cost you as much as $1,500 per fax if the judge finds that
you did it intentionally.
The law is called the Federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act
(TCPA) and it has teeth! The federal government became involved in
fax advertising nearly a decade ago. Most states already had laws
in place to prohibit unsolicited fax advertisements, but they were
not very effective. A fax advertiser could avoid a state's laws by
setting up shop in another state and faxing the ads long
At the request of many states, the federal government enacted
the TCPA. Unless an advertiser obtains advance approval, sending
fax ads is illegal in Colorado and most other states. (To confuse
matters, Colorado has a similar version of this law that permits
unsolicited fax advertisements, as long as the fax contains a
toll-free number that allows the recipient to opt out of future fax
ads.) However, don't be fooled by those boys selling fancy fax
broadcast machines. In Colorado, trial courts are enforcing the
federal law, and you must have expressed consent from the recipient
in order to send a fax advertisement. If you don't follow the
federal law, it will cost you at least $500 per fax.
The $500 federal penalty may seem abnormally stiff for a
single-page fax, but the fine was set so high in order to give
individuals an incentive to seek recovery. Instead, enterprising
lawyers and debt collectors pay people a fraction of that $500 to
assign the unwanted faxes for collection. Lawyers and debt
collectors then bundle these faxes into lawsuits. The result is
that mortgage companies are being sued for hundreds of faxes sent
to many different people.
So, if you are sending advertisements by fax, beware! The
current law is not in your favor, and you can save your free speech
arguments for the appeal. If a fax broadcast salesman knocks on
your door, just tell them, "No thanks!"
Douglas A. Turner is an attorney based in Golden, Colo. He
may be reached by phone at (303) 273-2923, by e-mail at [email protected]
or by visiting www.douglasturner.com.