City News Service
LOS ANGELES — A state appeals panel ruled that people can directly sue fax advertising firms for $500 per unwanted fax without the need for government action, a Santa Monica consumer advocacy group reported today.
On Tuesday, the 2nd District Court of Appeal reversed a Los Angeles judge’s ruling that the Legislature must enact a law expressly allowing people to sue companies that allegedly fill fax machines with unsolicited ads.
The ruling stems from a proposed state class-action suit against “Faxertise” and other “junk fax” firms, filed by the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights.
The group hailed the ruling as a “victory for consumer privacy.”
“The decision means that junk faxers must stop stealing Californians’ toner and paper, tying up our home and business fax lines, and waking us up in the middle of the night with their annoying and unwanted fax ads,” said Pam Pressley, an FTCR attorney.
According to Pressley, her group receives dozens of junk fax ads per day and has received hundreds of consumer complaints.
Sen. Debra Bowen, D-Redondo Beach, sponsored a bill to reduce mass faxes. She said the decision “makes it crystal clear that people can go to court and sue junk faxers for $500 a fax, period, end of story.”
The appellate panel ruling followed a $15 million federal lawsuit filing earlier this week by California Attorney General Bill Lockyer against Aliso Viejo-based Fax.com.
Lockyer alleges Fax.com violated state and federal laws by sending consumers unsolicited faxes and prerecorded phone messages.