August 19, 2003

Legislative Activity

Date:August 19, 2003

To:AAF Members

From:Clark Rector, SVP-state government affairs
Jeff Perlman, EVP-government affairs

Re:>FCC Commercial Fax Rule

We are pleased to announce that the Federal Communications Commission has delayed the effective date of new rules dealing with unsolicited commercial faxes until January 1, 2005. As originally issued the rules were to become effective August 25.

The revised FCC rules place severe new limits on companies wanting to send faxes to existing customers. Under the new rules, businesses may send faxes containing advertisements only with the recipient's prior, written permission including the recipient's signature (or e-signature) and fax number. The recipient's statement must include a clear invitation to send advertising faxes. This ban on unsolicited fax advertising applies to faxes sent to any recipient, including businesses and consumers. A fax includes an "advertisement" if it includes "any material advertising the commercial availability or quality of any property, goods or services."

The FCC clarifies in its new rules that there is no "established business relationship" exception to the ban on unsolicited faxes. Accordingly, even faxes to a company's existing customers will require their prior, express permission if the fax includes advertising content.

Do not hesitate to call either of us at 1-800-999-2231 if you have any comments or questions.