Bush Signs Law Allowing Fax Communications
Associations and businesses of all kinds breathed a collective sigh of relief last week as Congress successfully approved the “Junk Fax Prevention Act of 2005,” a bill that injects some common sense into onerous Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules aimed at preventing unwanted faxes.
The bill was signed into law by President Bush on July 9 in time to pre-empt the FCC regulations from going into effect.
The new law establishes an “existing business relationship” exception to the general rule against unsolicited fax communications. That should make life easier for home builders and their associates, among others, whose communications with existing and potential customers would have faced much more burdensome compliance measures. It also helps organizations such as NAHB and state and local home builders associations, which would have had to obtain express written consent from each of their members before being able to communicate with them by fax.
Due to its tremendous significance to the day-to-day communications of NAHB members and affiliates, the association was heavily engaged in moving this legislation through Congress.
In addition to lobbying on Capitol Hill, NAHB conducted a grassroots letter writing campaign and worked with a range of coalition partners. These efforts resulted in unanimous passage of the bill in the Senate on June 24 and in the House on June 28.
The following is required for compliance with the new law:
- All business faxes should include a chance for recipients to opt out of further communications.
- This opportunity must be clearly spelled out on the first page of each fax, including a phone and fax number for recipients to use; at least one cost-free way to respond must be available 24 hours a day.
- The sender may only use fax numbers obtained through a business relationship with the recipient or from a Web site, directory or advertisement where the recipient clearly intended to make the information available. (Fax numbers in the senders’ possession prior to enactment of the legislation are exempted.)
To read the legislation, click here and enter "Junk Fax Prevention Act of 2005" in the box at the upper left.
For more information, e-mail Allen Segal at NAHB, or call him at 800-368-5242 x8570; or contact Andrew Holliday, x8305.