FCC proposes $400k junk fax fine

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed forfeiture penalties in the amount of $432,000 against a California woman for delivering unsolicited, advertisements to consumers via facsimile machine.

Issued in February 2012, the Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture cites Teresa Goldberg (also known as Tammy Pocknett) and her companies, Software Training Company, Software Business Management, and Software Managing Systems, for delivering 27 unsolicited fax advertisements. The fax advertisements reportedly offered two separate courses for “hands-on consulting and training” in the use of QuickBooks.

Responding to consumer complaints, the Enforcement Bureau of the Commission originally issued a Citation against Software Training Company in December 2010. In its response to the Citation, the company asserted that it “was no longer active or in business” and that it had “no plan or resources to start the company again.” However, less than two months later, the Commission began receiving consumer complaints regarding fax advertising from Software Business Management and Software Managing Systems that were similar to those send by Software Training Company. Further investigation by the Enforcement Bureau convinced officials that the different companies were simply various trade names through which Goldberg operated.

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 Goldberg for willful and repeated violations of its regulations, levying $16,000 in fines for each of the 27 apparent violations, for a total of $432,000. The Commission noted that the proposed penalty was based on the number of apparent, willful, repeat violations involved, as well as Goldberg’s “complete disregard for the Commission’s authority and an intent to continue to violate the law.” 

Read the complete text of the Commission’s Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture.