Posted: May 6, 2011
The facsimile machine in my office is not as active as it used to be. I don't send nearly as much information via the fax machine since most of those same types of messages can be sent electronically. However, my fax machine still receives a growing number of advertisements from companies that I have no interest in doing business with.
For example, I receive faxes from companies that offer vacation packages, financing for equipment or real estate purchases or want to help me turn my scrap metal into cash. Fortunately, all of the advertisements allow me to call a toll-free number to have my fax number removed from their mailing list.
But one particular company was rather persistent. New York City-based Alston Ferris Capital sent me numerous fax messages letting me know that they're the company to call if I need to borrow up to $10 million and be approved within 48 hours to buy all types of property. I called the 800-number to have my fax number removed from their database, but to no avail.
Over the course of the next two months, I continued to receive fax messages from Alston Ferris Capital. Although the faxes were not as intrusive as unwanted calls by phone, I was getting angry that this company was not adhering to my request to be removed from their mailing list. So I called the company directly.
I spoke with Jeff Kaye, a loan officer with Alston Ferris Capital. I told him that I was a reporter who owned a business publication in West Central Wisconsin and had alerted the Better Business Bureau and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection to his firm's lack of respect. I explained to him that it was illegal for his company to not remove unwanted fax messages after the Federal Communications Commission made it unlawful to do so in 2006.
"We're in business to make a living just like you, Mr. Ropa. We are not in the business of being a pest," said Kaye.
I have not received any more advertisements from Alston Ferris so it appears that my personal appeal has worked.
This past week, I received a message from the Envirofax Commission, which portrays itself as a non-profit corporation dedicated to helping business owners receive free assistance to opt out of unwanted faxes. I have no idea if the Envirofax Commission is a legitimate entity, but I wish they would have contacted me a few months ago. I could have introduced them to Alston Ferris Capital.