Spam and unwanted faxes

The following advice concerning unwanted fax advertisements was sent by Walter Oney, a Massachusetts attorney, to his clients. It bears further light. Not only are we being subjected to “spam” on the internet, our fax machines appear to be equally at risk.

The response by abusing marketers to the effect that we don’t have to read the material, just toss it into the round can, seems to be as inane as the response that smokers are at fault for being addicted, not the manufacturers who make tobacco products.

“Dear Client:

A very unfortunate change in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)may allow fax broadcasters and advertisers to legally harvest fax numbers from web sites and thereby escape the previous rule that prior express permission was required before transmitting advertisements.

You can minimize the danger of receiving unwanted ads by removing your fax number from your website. The next best alternative, which may or may not work, would be to add a legend to your web pages to the following effect:

‘[My/our] fax number appears on this web site as a convenience for our [customers/clients] and prospective [customers/clients] who wish to transmit noncommercial material related to our business dealings. No permission may be inferred for any person to transmit an advertisement of any kind.’

You might also want to routinely tell your usual suppliers, in writing, that you do or do not welcome price quotations or other types of announcements by fax.

None of these measures will guarantee you freedom from unwanted fax advertisements, and litigation may be required to establish their efficacy in the face of the change in the law.

If you want to understand how this perverse change occurred, please visit”


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