FCC still can’t figure out what the hell to do about junk faxes

By | July 15, 2007

I previously wrote about this in November 2005. Things have not improved. My newest attempt to shake things up:

July 15, 2007

Kevin J. Martin, Chairman
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street SW
Washington, DC 20554

Dear Mr. Martin,

I received in the mail today four letters from the FCC, dated July 10, 2007, which read as follows:

This letter is to thank you for filing your complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) alleging a violation of the FCC’s rules on unsolicited advertising to telephone fax machines. We note that investigating these types of complaints is a complex process. In many cases, during the course of our investigation, we find that the telephone number referenced in a complaint is no longer operational, making it very difficult to track down the entity responsible for an alleged violation. After reviewing and investigating your complaint, we have determined, based on the information available, that unfortunately we cannot take enforcement action on this case.

Here are the complaint numbers referenced in the four letters:

Complaint # Date submitted
06-W11998783 July 11, 2006
06-W12005404 July 12, 2006
06-W12032672 July 21, 2006
06-W12066666 August 1, 2006


I received four earlier letters about the same complaints, some dated May 30, 2007 and some dated May 31, which read as follows:

This is in response to your complaint filed with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) alleging a violation of the FCC’s rules on unsolicited advertising to telephone fax machines. We have reviewed your complaint and it appears to contain all of the necessary information. Thank you for filing. The matter is now under review.

In other words, the FCC did not begin investigating my complaints until at least ten months after I submitted them. Good grief! The people sending these junk faxes are criminals and scam artists. They know what they’re doing is illegal. Do you honestly expect them to sit around at the same phone number for the better part of a year while the FCC gets around to investigating their complaints?!

What a colossal waste of my time, submitting complaints to the FCC for every junk fax I’ve received! What a colossal waste of taxpayers’ money, investigating junk faxes over ten months after they were sent, when there isn’t a snowball’s chance in hell that the perpetrators will be caught!

Your most recent annual report says that you received complaints for over 102,000 junk-fax violations during the year ending July 9, 2006, and in that time, you managed to issue only two Notices of Apparent Liability and only one Forfeiture Order. In short, your enforcement efforts are a joke and the junk faxers know it.

Here’s what I’m hoping: I’m hoping that because of past incompetence at the FCC, a huge backlog of junk-fax complaints built up, but the problems resulting in that backlog have been addressed, the backlog has been cleared, and any future complaints I submit will be processed in a timely fashion and the perpetrators brought to justice.

Here’s what I’m dreading: I’m dreading the possibility that things at the FCC are just as bad as they’ve always been, and I can look forward to there continuing to be absurdly long gaps between when I file junk-fax complaints and when the FCC actually gets around to investigating them.

So, which is it?

Sincerely,

Jonathan Kamens

cc: Sen. Ted Stevens, Chairman
  Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation
  United States Senate
  508 Dirksen Senate Office Building
  Washington, DC 20510-6125
cc: Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, Co-Chairman
  Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation
  United States Senate
  508 Dirksen Senate Office Building
  Washington, DC 20510-6125
cc: Sen. Edward M. Kennedy
  United States Senate
  317 Russell Senate Building
  Washington, DC 20510
cc: Sen. John Kerry
  United States Senate
  304 Russell Senate Building
  Washington, DC 20510
cc: Hon. Edward J. Markey, Chairman
  Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet
  Committee on Energy and Commerce
  United States House of Representatives
  2125 Rayburn House Office Building
  Washington, DC 20515
cc: Hon. Michael E. Capuano
  United States House of Representatives
  1530 Longworth House Office Building
  Washington, DC 20515
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