The Attorney General provides Consumer Alerts to inform the public of unfair, misleading, or deceptive business practices, and to provide information and guidance on other issues of concern. Consumer Alerts are not legal advice, legal authority, or a binding legal opinion from the Department of Attorney General.
You check your fax machine hoping that big proposal has finally come through only to find several pages of ads for stocks, vacations, and business services you don't need. How frustrating to have your ink, paper, and time wasted by junk faxes!
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules prohibit sending unsolicited advertisements, also known as "junk faxes," to a fax machine, unless an Established Business Relationship exists. This prohibition applies to fax machines at both businesses and residences. For more information on the TCPA and the FCC rules, see the FCC's publication "Fax Advertising: What You Need to Know."
Michigan law also prohibits transmission of unsolicited fax advertisements, see MCL 445.1771 et seq.
If you want to join the fight against unsolicited junk fax advertisements, when you receive such a fax:
Call the fax removal number provided.
Attempt to locate the company responsible for the fax. This could involve contacting the company and requesting their address or fax number.
Provide the company WRITTEN notice of the unsolicited fax. Examples of sample unsolicited fax notices are available through the FCC. Sample text can be found at the end of this alert.
If there is no contact information on the fax, file a complaint with the FCC (see "File a Complaint" section for contact information).
If the company sends you a fax advertisement after you have sent written notice, you have the right under state law to sue the company for $500 or actual damages, whichever is greater, along with attorney fees. If the company violates the TCPA, you have the right under federal law to sue the company. You can either recover the actual monetary loss that resulted from the TCPA violation or receive up to $500 in damages for each violation, whichever is greater. The court may triple the damages for each violation if it finds that the defendant willingly or knowingly committed the violation.
You may file a complaint with the FCC by completing the online Consumer Complaint form, or by calling the FCC's Consumer Center at 888-CALL-FCC (888-225-5322) voice or 888-TELL-FCC (888-835-5322) TTY. Alternatively you can send a letter summarizing the complaint to:Federal Communications Commission
Be clear that your complaint is about a "TCPA Unsolicited Fax." Indicate that you did not invite or give permission for the sender to send you the fax(es) and that you request the Commission take appropriate action against the sender. The FCC lists recent TCPA enforcement actions at: www.fcc.gov/eb/tcd/ufax.html.
You may contact the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division at:Consumer Protection Division
I/We received an unsolicited fax advertisement from your office. You did not seek or obtain prior consent to send this fax.
Recipient Name: ___________________________
Recipient Fax: ___________________________
Michigan and federal law prohibit the use of a facsimile machine to transmit unsolicited advertising messages. See MCL 445.1771 et seq and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991, 47 USC § 227 et seq. Michigan law provides:
A person shall not send an advertisement to another person by means of a facsimile machine without first obtaining, by means other than by a facsimile machine, the consent of the person who will receive the advertisement. MCL 445.1772(1).
Immediately stop sending unsolicited fax advertisements. If I/we receive another unsolicited fax advertisement from you, I/we will have the legal right (pursuant to MCL 445.1776) to file a lawsuit against you to recover actual damages or $500, whichever is greater, plus reasonable attorney fees. I may also file a lawsuit under the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991. Additionally, I/we will also file a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission and notify Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette's Consumer Protection Division.
For enforcement purposes retain proof that you sent this notice.