Office of the Attorney General News Release Archive



Tuesday, February 8, 2000

CORNYN SUES BROADCAST FAX BUSINESS

Attorney General cracks down on the illegal business practices of American Blastfax Inc.

AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn today announced the filing of a lawsuit against American Blastfax, Inc., based in Dallas. The lawsuit was filed because of the company's illegal practice of sending unsolicited faxes to nearly 500,000 fax machines in and around Dallas, Houston, and Austin. The lawsuit alleges that American Blastfax violated the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. (DTPA)

"Shady businesses that take advantage of consumers will not be tolerated," said Attorney General John Cornyn. "If you are illegally running your business, you will pay the price."

The TCPA prohibits sending any material advertising the commercial availability of any property, goods, or services to any person's fax machine, without that person's prior express invitation or permission. The TCPA further provides that the attorney general of any state may bring an action to enjoin the sending of unsolicited faxes and to recover actual monetary loss or $500 for each violation ($1500 if the violation was committed knowingly or willfully). Jurisdiction of a State action under the TCPA is in federal district court.

In addition to receiving consumer complaints against American Blastfax, the Attorney General's Office itself has received over 200 unsolicited faxes from the company.

The Attorney General's lawsuit alleges that Blastfax violated the TCPA by engaging in a pattern or practice of sending unsolicited faxes. The lawsuit also contends that Blastfax violated the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA) by among other things, failing to tell customers that its business violates the TCPA.

The Attorney General's lawsuit asks that a court assess civil penalties against Blastfax in the amount of $2,000 per violation of the Texas DTPA. The lawsuit also asks that civil penalties of up to $1500 be assessed for each unsolicited fax sent in violation of the TCPA.

This case was filed by Assistant Attorney General Brad Schuelke of the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division.

- 30 -


Contact Mark Heckmann, Heather Browne, or Tom Kelley at (512) 463-2050