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Missouri Attorney General files federal lawsuit to stop Texas business from faxing unsolicited ads to Missouri homes, businesses

June 8, 2000 -  Jefferson City, Mo. -- To combat the increasing problem of junk faxes, Attorney General Jay Nixon today filed a lawsuit in federal district court in St. Louis against a Dallas-based business that is targeting St. Louisans and other Missourians with unsolicited fax advertising. The business, American Blast Fax Inc., even advertised that it provides direct fax advertising into 125,000 St. Louis fax machines.

Nixon said the company is violating the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) by sending unsolicited advertising to thousands of fax machines in homes, businesses, churches, schools, government offices in St. Louis and other parts of the state. The TCPA makes it illegal to send unsolicited advertising to a fax machine.

"For anyone whose fax machine is constantly tied up as it spits out surveys, offers for discount travel packages, and perhaps most insulting of all ads for fax machine paper and toner, this is a blow to stop the deluge of paper," Nixon said. "These advertising faxes shift the cost of paper, toner and lost fax line availability squarely on the unwilling recipient, and that is just wrong.

"These junk faxes also prevent consumers, particularly small businesses, from receiving important faxes they are awaiting," Nixon said. "Although these blast faxers will tell you that consumers can remove their fax numbers by making a telephone call, the burden should not have to be on the consumer to stop these unsolicited intrusions."

Nixon is asking the federal court to issue a permanent injunction ordering American Blast Fax to cease any violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and Missouri consumer protection laws.

The lawsuit also asks the court to award restitution to Missourians who lost money because of the company's business practices, and to award civil penalties to the state as the court finds appropriate. The TCPA allows for civil penalties of up to $500 per violation and triple that amount for willful violations of the law.

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