FCC proposes $1.6 million fine for unsolicited faxes

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed forfeiture penalties in the amount of nearly $1.6 million against a California company for delivering unsolicited advertisements to consumers via facsimile machine.

Issued in September 2012, the Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture cites Tim Gibbons and a myriad of companies he operated for delivering unsolicited fax advertisements to consumers, beginning as far back as October 2010. The fax advertisements offered recipients various financial services, including “0% interest” on “restructured” credit card programs.

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 makes it “unlawful for any person within the United States…to use any telephone facsimile machine, computer, or other device, to send, to a telephone facsimile machine, an unsolicited advertisement,” without prior authorization of the recipient.

In this case, the Commission cited Gibbons for willful and repeated violations of its regulations, levying $16,000 in fines for each of 99 apparent violations, for a total of $1,584,000. The Commission noted that the proposed penalty was based on the number of apparent, willful, repeat violations involved, as well as Gibbons’ efforts to disguise his culpability and evade responsibility for the violations, despite Commission warnings.