FCC Stays Broad Expansion of Rules on Unsolicited Faxes

The FCC has issued a lengthy stay of an important aspect of its new restrictions on unsolicited faxes. On June 26, 2003, responding to complaints of “besieged” consumers, the FCC took action that greatly enhanced the existing statutory prohibition against unsolicited facsimiles contained in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991. In its Report and Order, the FCC reversed an important prior interpretation by eliminating a key exception for sending faxes to existing customers; instead, the FCC concluded that affirmative, opt-in consent to receive faxes would be required, even for existing customers. The new rule is merely one component of the rules regarding the TCPA, but it merits significant attention because of its impact on all businesses and associations that communicate with customers via facsimile.

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