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The Toner Doctor Junk Fax TCPA Class Action

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The Toner Doctor

This class action alleges that junk faxes, sent by The Toner Doctor, violate provisions of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) because they don’t contain the complete opt-out notices it requires.

The class for this action includes all persons in the US to whom The Toner Doctor sent advertising faxes, about the availability of property, goods, or services, without including the opt-out notice required by the TCPA from June 7, 2013 through June 7, 2017.

The TCPA was first passed in 1991 to address growing problems with telemarketing, including the sending of junk faxes via facsimile machines.

Because faxes are not selective and must receive and print whatever is sent to them, junk faxes impose burdens on recipients that regular advertising does not. For example, unwanted faxes tie up telephone lines and fax machines, making them unavailable for other communication. They also expend the recipient’s toner and paper.

In 2005, Congress passed the Junk Fax Prevention Act (JFPA) to amend the TCPA. One of the provisions of the JFPA was that advertising faxes had to contain an adequate opt-out notice, so that recipients could choose not to receive them any longer. While advertising faxes may be sent to those with whom the sender has an established business relationship and those who have consented to receive such ads, the opt-out notice must still be included.

The opt-out notice must meet certain criteria:

  • It must be clear, conspicuous, and located on the first page of the ad.
  • It must state that the recipient may request that the sender not send any further ads, and that the sender must comply with the request within 30 days.
  • It must set out the requirements for opting out.
  • It must include a domestic contact phone number and fax number for opt-out requests; and, if these numbers are not local or toll-free, a cost-free option such as a website or e-mail address.
  • The opt-out options must permit recipients to make opt-out requests twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

In the exhibit attached to the complaint, an ad purported to be from The Toner Doctor shows a much briefer opt-out notice, reading simply, “To no longer receive promotions with discounts of up to 85%, unsubscribe at www.pleaseunsubscribe.com/toner”. According to the complaint, this notice is insufficient and omits some of the requirements above.

For this reason, the complaint says, the opt-out notice is not a true opt-out notice as required by the law.

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