Wednesday, September 8, 2010
5 Steps to Make Money from Junk Faxes by Steve Ostrow, Author of How to Sue a Telemarketer
Today's special guest is Steve Ostrow, author of How To Sue A Telemarketer.
Telemarketers have been a pain in the general public’s behind for decades. Thanks to their interrupting us day and night, the telephone has been transformed from a convenience, into a source of annoyance and frustration.
How To Sue A Telemarketer: A Manual For Restoring Peace On Earth One Phone Call At A Time is a tongue-in-cheek manual that shows the average citizen how they can fight back against a telemarketer by taking them to small-claims court. Half humorous and half how-to, the book combines comedy with savvy information about the legal system and step-by-step instructions on how consumers can take telemarketers to task.
5 Steps to Make Money from Junk Faxes by Steve Ostrow
This is too easy. Can it be true? I mean can someone really collect money from a junk fax telemarketer? Consumer reports say there is a law that makes it illegal to send junk faxes to people where no prior business relationship or permission exists, but does that translate into cash?
The answer is yes and yes! Junk faxes are illegal, and it’s actionable by monetary penalties. Those penalties go to the person who brings the suit. And yes, you can do this with or without a lawyer; and yes, you can do this in small claims court.
Most of the telemarketing laws pertain to privacy of the home. That’s a personal residence as opposed to a commercial market place. Telemarketers can legally bug you all day at work, and even into the night, without repercussion. There is little restriction on free speech in the commercial sector, EXCEPT when it comes to junk faxes. Automatic dialing fax machines that spit out thousands, even hundreds of thousands, junk faxes to phone numbers across the board, both residential and commercial, are banned.
The penalty for sending a junk fax is five hundred dollars ($500). If the court finds that an intentional scheme exists, the court has the discretion to treble the amount. ------------ Multiple junk faxes, received on different or successive days, can be stacked into one suit. Let’s get this clear: if a telemarketer sends out unauthorized junk faxes every day of the week to the same fax machine, each day is a separate violation and can be independently or collectively sued upon. Yep, we are talking about some money here and it’s easy. That is one violation for each fax. I know that the City of San Diego has collected over $75,000 against one junk faxer! Here is the process:
1st Step, go to the fax machine and pull out the fax. Read it, determine you did not authorize this telemarketer to fax you, and then go to the computer.
2nd Step, research the legal name of the faxer. The information is before you. The faxer wants to sell you on his company; of course he will give you the necessary information to find him. Research and determine the correct LEGAL NAME. The LEGAL NAME is real important as opposed to simply the trade name.
3rd Step, send a demand letter. Junk faxers know it’s against the law to junk fax. Why would someone break the law if they know it’s wrong? Simple, if the results yield a profit, then legal penalties are just a cost of doing business. Sometimes a settlement can be reached without going to court. Other times court is necessary and there is a box on the complaint form which asks if you have previously contacted the defendant with your demand attempting to settle. It’s best to check this box and have a demand letter available.
4th Step, if not settled, then file and serve your complaint. Jurisdiction for your complaint is the location of where your fax machine sits or the county where the defendant resides. I strongly suggest you use the location where your fax machine is located.
5th Step, show up at court. Exhibit 1 is the junk fax. Pretty hard to dispute! The good news about a junk fax case is that there is never a “he said, she said” scenario. Quite difficult for the defendant to deny they did not send the junk fax. Tell the truth of what happened. You should have your judgment shortly thereafter.
Steve Ostrow is an attorney, celebrity impersonator and the author of the new book How To Sue A Telemarketer: A Manual for Restoring Peace On Earth One Phone Call At A Time. To date, Steve has successfully sued, or settled, won and collected, over 10 judgments against telemarketers. To find out more and order his book, go to www.howtosueatelemarketer.com