Although the spotlight is usually on unwanted phone calls and text messages when it comes to class actions under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), a recent settlement over the sending of faxes is a reminder to advertisers that all communications should be scrutinized for compliance.
Medical & Chiropractic Clinic Inc. had sued radiology provider SRA Ventures and cardiology and imaging service provider KMH Labs in Florida district court, alleging that advertising faxes sent by the companies did not include language giving the recipient the opportunity to opt out of future communications, as is required by the TCPA. While the TCPA allows faxes to be sent in the context of an established business relationship, which was present here, the opt-out language must be included. Defendants sent the allegedly non-compliant faxes to 1,805 unique fax numbers.
The $1.35 million settlement shall be provided for compensation to class members, who will receive up to $500 per fax advertisement received, and for attorneys’ fees.
Takeaway: When getting creative with communication to clients, advertisers should keep in mind the heavy penalties for violating the restrictions on phone calls, text messages, and faxes under the TCPA. Importantly, advertisers should remember that the TCPA provides a private right of action, which appears to be a boon for the class action plaintiffs’ bar.