Unwanted Faxes Law Article
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Fix puts exemptions in unwanted-faxes law

By Lynn Bartels, Rocky Mountain News
March 1, 2005
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Text of original article pasted below, should the above link become out-dated

The premise was noble: Stop unwanted faxes.

A bill that passed last year with bipartisan support was designed to do exactly that.

But the bill didn't include a provision that exempted groups or companies that had pre-existing relationships from faxing each other.

Nonprofits found they couldn't contact their members without first getting permission to send a fax. Contractors went through hoops to contact subcontractors.

And the unwanted faxes spawned lawsuits.

Under the law, each unwanted fax can result in damages of up to $1,500.

"Basically, in Colorado we created an industry of lawsuits that was never meant to happen," said Rep. Buffie McFadyen , D-Pueblo West, who carried last year's measure.

A bill introduced this year is designed to fix the oversight.

House Bill 1059 by McFadyen and Sen. Jennifer Veiga, D-Denver, already has passed the House and is scheduled to be heard this morning by the Senate Business, Labor and Technology Committee.

The bill creates two exemptions for "established business relationships" and for nonprofits.

During the House hearing, Corky Kyle, president of The Kyle Management Group, told of the difficulties the law had created for associations.

"The amount of work it required us to do in order to maintain our relationships with our nonprofits was extreme," he said.

What the new bill doesn't do is stop suits over unwanted faxes.

Veiga said some groups buy up unwanted faxes from companies at $25 apiece.

Then the group sues the senders or asks for money to avoid a suit.

Veiga, a Denver attorney, said she has defended some companies that were sued for sending faxes. One was a Midwestern collection agency that had no idea about Colorado's law, and sent "blast" faxes offering its services.

"In some of the cases I did think the lawsuits were a little unfair," she said.

"Having said that, I really couldn't come up with a way to change the bill that would still provide the policy goal, which I think is good, to limit unsolicited faxes."



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