TRENTON – A measure by Senators Paul A. Sarlo and Joseph Coniglio to prohibit the use of fax machines to transmit unsolicited advertisements received committee approval today.
“Unwanted advertisements are like weeds – just when you think you’ve gotten rid of them, they sprout up one more time,” said Senator Sarlo, D-Bergen. “While we’ve made great strides in empowering the public to free themselves of telemarketers, our fax machines still provide companies with a means to sneak their unwanted ads into our homes and businesses. This bill addresses this growing nuisance.”
The bill, S-342, would prohibit a person in this State from using a fax machine, computer or other device to send an unsolicited advertisement to another telephone fax machine within the State. The bill also provides that individuals or companies violating the law could be sued for actual damages or $500 for each violation, whichever is greater, and the costs of suit and reasonable attorney’s fees. If the offender continues to send unwanted faxes, the minimum damages would go up to $1000. Individuals who receive unwanted faxes could also choose to report the offending company or individual under the State’s consumer fraud laws.
“I don’t know of many businesses which regularly receive fax spam throughout the day,” said Senator Coniglio, D-Bergen. “Not only is the fax spam annoying, but it also costs the recipient money, through wasted paper and toner, and can prevent other fax transmissions from coming through in a timely manner.”
The bill would allow an unsolicited fax advertisement to be sent to an individual where there is an existing business relationship between the sender of the unsolicited fax advertisement and the individual provided that the first page of the unsolicited advertisement discloses to the recipient that the recipient may request the sender not to send any future unsolicited advertisements to the recipient’s telephone fax machine and also discloses the telephone and fax machine number for the recipient to transmit the request.
The bill passed the Senate Commerce Committee by a vote of 4-1. It now goes to the full Senate for their approval.