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Attorney General Bill Lockyer Demands That FAX.COM Turn Over Documents for State Investigation
(LOS ANGELES) - Attorney General Bill Lockyer today announced that telemarketer Fax.com has been ordered by a Los Angeles County Superior Court to justify why they have not complied with an Attorney General subpoena for information or else be found in contempt of court for their failure to respond.
"Unsolicited faxes have become so pervasive that they are harming business efficiency and costing consumers and businesses millions each year," Lockyer said. "I intend to fully investigate whether advertising companies are breaking the law and put a stop to any illegal activity."
Over the last two years the Attorney General's office has received dozens of complaints from consumers and businesses throughout California about unsolicited faxes. Pursuant to his authority as the state's top law enforcement official, earlier this year Lockyer issued a subpoena demanding documents and other materials from Fax.com in order to determine whether the company was complying with state and federal law. Among the documents requested by Lockyer are records explaining Fax.com's business practices and the procedures used to remove names and numbers from their distribution lists. Despite numerous follow-up requests and time extensions, Fax.com has consistently failed to comply with the Attorney General's subpoena. As a result, Lockyer yesterday filed a request with the Los Angeles Superior Court that Fax.com be required to justify why they have failed to comply with the subpoena, and today the court ordered Fax.com to do so at a hearing on August 6, 2002.
Incorporated in Deleware, Fax.com's principal place of business is in Orange County, California. According to published accounts, the company sends out hundreds of thousands of unsolicited faxes every day to a database of more than 16 million fax numbers. Unlike telemarketing phone calls, it is estimated that unsolicited faxes cost California consumers and businesses tens of millions of dollars annually due to lost efficiency as well as increased toner and paper use.
Under California law, individuals or entitites that send unsolicited fax advertisements must include a toll-free number for the recipient to call in order to request that their fax number be taken off the distribution list.