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Understanding Fax Advertising Laws in the United States

4 mins

Unveiling the Power of Fax Marketing

Fax marketing might seem like a blast from the past in today's world of digital ads and social media influencers. But guess what, it’s still relevant for certain industries! Let's explore what fax marketing is all about, its history, and why it's still kicking it in today's marketing scene.


What is Fax Advertising?

Fax advertising, also known as fax marketing, involves transmitting promotional messages or advertisements via fax machines to targeted recipients. For example, pharmacies or medical practices might receive fax marketing for newly developed medicines or procedures. Fax marketing can cut through instead of getting lost in the mail or an email inbox. Online fax leverages the direct communication capabilities of fax technology to deliver messages to businesses that own fax machines or use online faxing in their organization.


History of Fax Marketing  

Fax marketing traces its roots back to the late 1980’s when fax machines became commonplace in offices and households worldwide. Initially, businesses utilized fax machines primarily for internal communication. However, recognizing the potential to reach a broader audience, marketers began using fax technology to deliver promotional materials directly to potential customers.


How to Send Fax Marketing with Notifyre

With Notifyre’s pay as you go fax service, launching fax marketing campaigns is easy. Simply create fax number contact groups and send faxes to up to 1,000 contacts by using our fax broadcasting feature.  

Notifyre offers scheduling so you can plan ahead and send faxes at the best time to reach customers. There are also customization options, allowing users to add personal touches to fax cover sheets, such as First and Last name, and select high-quality fax options (best for images) for an additional charge.  

Additionally, users can monitor their campaign's performance in real-time with activity reporting. There is also API integration capabilities so you can integrate with your CRM for easy contact management. Whether you're sending a few faxes or a large volume fax, Notifyre provides the ease and flexibility to meet your needs.

Explore Fax Broadcast


Understanding Fax Advertising Laws in the United States

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) governs fax advertising in the United States and imposes regulations on unsolicited fax advertisements and mandating opt-out notices for recipients. The TCPA prohibits the use of any device, including fax machines or computers, to send unsolicited ads to fax machines.  


What is The Junk Fax Prevention Act?  

The Junk Fax Prevention Act, enacted in 2005, revised the TCPA. The changes allowed the transmission of unsolicited fax advertisements to individuals and businesses with whom the sender has an established business relationship (EBR) with, and the advertiser acquired the fax number legally. Additionally, it added a procedure for senders to stop sending ads when the recipient requests to opt-out.


Rules and Regulations You Need to Know for Fax Advertising in the United States

1. Established Business Relationship (EBR)

An Established Business Relationship (EBR) refers to a pre-existing relationship established through voluntary interactions. This relationship is typically formed through inquiries, applications, purchases, or transactions related to products or services offered by the sender. Marketers can send fax advertisements to individuals with whom they have an EBR, but recipients should be able to opt out. It's important to note that an EBR must be directly established with the sender and does not apply to its affiliates.


2. Acquiring Fax Numbers

Federal law requires fax advertisers using the EBR exemption to acquire recipients' fax numbers within the EBR context or ensure that they provided their numbers voluntarily in directories, ads, or websites.  Examples of providing voluntarily include, supplying their numbers on forms, verbally, through letterheads, or on sender websites. Fax numbers sourced from recipient directories, ads, or websites are presumed voluntary unless explicitly stated otherwise. If acquired from third parties, verification of recipient consent is necessary. However, if the sender had an EBR with the recipient before July 9, 2005, and already possessed the fax number, proof of acquisition method is not needed.


3. Contact Information and Notice of Opt-uut

Every unsolicited fax advertisement must contain a notice on the initial page informing recipients about their ability to opt-out of future unsolicited fax ads from the sender. This opt-out notification must clearly visible and separate from the advertising material. Furthermore, it should offer both domestic telephone and fax numbers, along with at least one free-of-charge method for opting out, such as a website, email address, toll-free number, or local number without additional fees. If a website is provided, the opt-out procedure must be clearly outlined on the website's first page. Additionally, all faxes, not just unsolicited advertisements, must feature the sender's identification on each transmitted page or on the first page, including the transmission date and time, the registered name of the sending company, and the sender's telephone number or the fax machine's number.


4. Fax Marketing Opt-Out Process  

The opt-out system must be available to receive requests 24/7. Advertisers are required to honor opt-out requests promptly, within 30 days of the request. Opt-out requests remain valid indefinitely and do not need renewal. However, giving subsequent permission, whether written or oral, to receive fax advertisements will override a previous opt-out request. The responsibility for complying with opt-out requirements and honoring requests lies with the sender, regardless of whether a third-party handles opt-out requests and contact information is provided in the fax.


5. Invitation or Permission to Receive Fax Advertisements

Senders are restricted from sending unsolicited fax advertisements without an Established Business Relationship (EBR) unless recipients have provided prior, explicit permission or invitation. It is the sender's responsibility to prove they obtained permission from the recipient. Application forms requesting a fax number should include a clear statement indicating that providing the number means the individual consents to receive fax advertisements.  


6. Transactional Faxes

The FCC order clarifies that faxes aimed at facilitating, confirming, or completing a commercial transaction previously agreed upon by the recipient are not considered advertisements. Examples include receipts, invoices, account balances, loan documents, travel itineraries, and subscription renewal notices. For such messages to be exempt from unsolicited advertisement definitions, they must pertain specifically to existing accounts and ongoing transactions. However, messages promoting free goods or services, even if related to transactions, are considered advertisements. Surveys that lead to advertisements are also subject to unsolicited fax laws.  


Do Fax Advertisements Need Opt-out Notices?

Yes, fax advertisements must include opt-out notices, allowing recipients to request to stop receiving further fax communications from the sender. An example of an opt-out notice for a fax advertisement could be:

"To opt out of receiving future fax advertisements from [Sender Name], please fax your request to [Fax Number] with the subject line 'Opt-Out' or call [Phone Number] and ask to be removed from our fax distribution list. Your request will be processed within [number of business days]."

A fax marketing notice can be configured in Notifyre’s custom coversheet feature.  


Types of Fax Marketing

Fax marketing comes in various forms, each tailored to achieve specific marketing objectives and resonate with target audiences. These examples of fax advertising should adhere to the laws for fax marketing:

Special Offers: Fax ads may include exclusive discounts, coupons, or limited-time offers to entice recipients.

Promotional Flyers: Businesses can send visually appealing flyers or brochures via fax to promote their products, services, or special offers.  

Event Invitations: Fax ads can be utilized to send invitations to events, such as product launches, seminars, conferences, or trade shows.  

Exclusive Offers: Fax ads can be used to deliver exclusive discounts, coupons, or limited-time offers directly to recipients' fax machines.  

Newsletter Subscriptions: Businesses can use fax marketing to invite recipients to subscribe to newsletters, updates, or promotional emails.  

Survey and Feedback Requests: Fax advertising can be employed to solicit feedback from customers or gather data through surveys or questionnaires.  

Appointment Reminders: Fax advertising can serve as a convenient way to send appointment reminders to clients or patients.  


Is Fax Marketing Still Effective?

Despite the widespread use of digital marketing channels, fax advertising continues to demonstrate effectiveness, particularly in industries such as healthcare and finance. Its direct, tangible nature ensures message delivery and makes it very likely to be read and acknowledged by the intended audience.  


5 Ways to Stop Receiving Fax Advertising

To stop receiving fax advertising in the United States, you can follow these steps:

1. Opt-Out Requests: Contact the sender directly using the contact information provided in the fax advertisement. Request to be removed from their fax distribution list. These opt-out instructions should be included in fax advertisements, specifying a fax number or phone number to call for removal.

2. Register with the National Do Not Call Registry: While primarily focused on telemarketing calls, the National Do Not Call Registry also covers fax advertising. You can register your fax number with the registry online at www.donotcall.gov or by calling 1-888-382-1222. Once registered, organizations are prohibited from sending unsolicited fax advertisements to your registered fax number.

3. Review Fax Marketing Laws: Familiarize yourself with fax marketing laws in the USA, such as the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). This law regulates fax advertising and includes provisions for opting out of receiving unsolicited fax advertisements. If you receive unsolicited fax advertisements that violate TCPA regulations, you may pursue legal action.

4. Implement Fax Blocking: Check if your fax machine or fax service provider offers features to block incoming faxes from specific numbers or fax advertisements. Many fax machines have settings to block unwanted faxes or allow you to filter incoming faxes based on sender information.

5. Report Violations: If you continue to receive unsolicited fax advertisements despite opting out or registering with the National Do Not Call Registry, you can report violations to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Provide detailed information about the offending fax, including the sender's contact information, the date and time of receipt, and any opt-out requests you've made. You can file a complaint with the FCC online at www.fcc.gov/complaints or by calling 1-888-225-5322.


Fax Advertising, Not Just a Thing of the Past

Fax advertising remains a relevant and effective marketing strategy when executed strategically and in compliance with relevant faxing laws. By taking advantage of the direct communication capabilities of fax, businesses can use the power of fax marketing to engage with their target audience effectively. With online fax service providers like Notifyre offering streamlined solutions for sending fax broadcasts, businesses can easily integrate fax marketing into their marketing strategies, reaching their audience directly and maximizing their fax campaign's impact.

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