December 13, 2019

FCC clarifies application of TCPA, excludes electronic fax messages sent to paperless recipients

In a Declaratory Ruling issued on December 9, 2019, the Federal Communications Commission ruled that an online fax service that receives faxes “sent as email over the Internet” and does not constitute equipment that “transcribe[s] text or images (or both) from an electronic signal received over a regular telephone line onto paper” is not a telephone facsimile machine within the meaning of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.  The FCC’s ruling was issued in response to a 2017 petition by Amerifactors Financial Group, LLC, requesting an expedited declaratory ruling that faxes sent to “online fax services” are not faxes sent to “telephone facsimile machines,” and thus fall outside the purview of the TCPA.

Having granted the declaratory relief requested by Amerifactors, the FCC declined to address the First Amendment question raised in Amerifactors’ petition.

FCC Ruling