Congressional action to stop junk faxes helps small business
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small businesses to communicate with customers
[JULY 30, 2005]
WASHINGTON -- With the passage of the Junk Fax
Prevention Act of 2005 (S.714), Congress has acted to stop junk faxes while ensuring that
small businesses can communicate with their customers. The
legislation will ensure that businesses can send faxes to customers
with whom they already have an established business relationship
without having to obtain written prior approval. The bill has been
sent to President Bush for his signature.
"The passage of the Junk Fax Prevention Act of 2005 by both the U.S.
House and Senate is good for small businesses and their customers,"
said Thomas M. Sullivan, chief counsel for advocacy with the Office
of Advocacy, U.S. Small Business Administration. "Junk faxes remain
illegal, but real estate agents can still fax listings based on a
telephone request, jobbers can fax updated price lists to stores,
and caterers can fax menus to brides-to-be. It's bipartisan win-win
legislation that's good for all concerned," he said.
legislation prohibits sending unsolicited fax advertisements to
anyone who has requested that they not be sent. Unsolicited faxes
can be sent if the senders have an established business relationship
with the customer and the fax contains a conspicuous notice on its
first page that the recipient may request not to be sent any further
unsolicited faxes. To prevent third-party mass marketers from buying
fax lists, businesses must obtain fax numbers either directly from
the recipient or from a published source such as a directory,
advertisement or Internet site.
The Junk Fax Prevention Act of 2005 overturns overly broad
regulations issued by Federal Communications Commission in July
2003. Those regulations would have made it illegal for businesses to
send faxes to even longtime customers unless they had specific
written permission to send a fax to a particular number. The FCC
regulations were opposed by a broad range of over 600 businesses and
trade associations that joined the "Fax Ban Coalition" organized to
oppose and reverse the FCC's regulations.
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In a May 2004 letter to the Office of Management and Budget, the
Office of Advocacy identified the FCC regulations as overly
burdensome on small businesses and in need of reform. The letter
noted that the rule "places a substantial burden on manufacturers
and other businesses by compelling them to obtain the signed written
consent of each recipient before any commercial fax may be sent" and
that the rule should be modified "to continue the established
business relationship exemption."
The Office of Advocacy, the "small business watchdog" of the
government, examines the role and status of small business in the
economy and independently represents the views of small business to
federal agencies, Congress and the president. It is the source for
small-business statistics presented in user-friendly formats, and it
funds research into small-business issues. For more information,
[News release from the Office
of Advocacy, U.S. Small Business