The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced on August 28, 2015, that “e-faxes” are considered the same as conventional faxes when it comes to consumer protections and violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and the Junk Fax Protection Act (JFPA). In its declaratory ruling, the FCC said, “Unwanted fax advertisements can annoy consumers, costing them time and money by way of interfering transmissions, and unplanned uses of paper and toner, as well as wear and tear on equipment… Based on our clarification, consumer will enjoy the same protections from unwanted e-faxes as they do from conventional faxes.” The FCC also clarified that this interpretation of the statute focuses on the sender’s means of transmission and not the ultimate destination.

Additionally, the FCC explained, in support of its ruling, that “e-faxes are just like paper faxes.” Even though they do not necessarily result in the same waste of paper or toner, e-faxes “can increase labor costs for businesses, whose employees must monitor faxes to separate unwanted from desired faxes.” Businesses: add e-faxes to your list of hazardous promotional materials.