The Cost of Faxes Is Skyrocketing!

Several years ago, Congress passed the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. Among its other provisions, the TCPA allows consumers to recover $500 in statutory damages for any unsolicited fax advertisement. So here’s a quick word problem for you. Assume somebody sent 8630 unsolicited fax advertisements. What would the statutory damages total? Try $4,215,000. And that’s the damage award that a defendant recently faced in a federal class action in Illinois. The court found no dispute about the number of faxes he sent. So the math was pretty simple really. But the defendant argued that the award would bankrupt him, and therefore should be thrown out. The court did not say “you should have thought of that before you sent the faxes” but it came close. It cited a previous case that had rejected a similar argument. It also noted that the defendant had insurance that covered this very loss. So the poverty argument was, no pun intended, pretty poor. And let’s face it, some guy who sends thousands of annoying faxes is not going to get a lot of sympathy in any court.