The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will allow businesses that have established relationships to continue faxing each other without written permission for now, the agency said.
In a "reconsideration" of the Report and Order which includes new regulations on faxes and telephone solicitations, the FCC postponed until January 1, 2005 the requirement that entities wishing to send fascimile transmissions have prior written permission from the recipient, if the two entities have a prior established business relationship (EBR). Unsolicited faxes where no EBR exists will still be banned by the new rules that take effect Monday (August 25).
The FCC has also revised its definition of an EBR. The new definition, which is still under review by the Office of Management and Budget, will be effective as soon as that agency approves it and will apply to the new specifications for faxing. It is included in the new regulations governing telemarketing and includes a time element to constrain the EBR.
Venable LLP, a Washington, D.C., law firm, says that some state courts have still upheld causes of action against faxers in spite of the EBR.
Both the Mortgage Bankers Association of America and the National Association of Mortgage Brokers petitioned the FCC to stay the fax rule, as did many other organizations, including tax-exempt entities.