Missouri and Illinois dental offices have reached a settlement after receiving numerous unsolicited faxes from an Indiana dental company. Last month, a federal judge approved a $1.6 million class-action settlement—meaning a potential $180 per copy –for dental businesses who suffered what some have deemed “junk fax assault.”
The Sunset Hills dental office that filed suit may receive $10,000 as the class representative.
In an interview with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Sunset Tower Family Dentistry office manager, Barney DePenaloz said that the office was not motivated by money. “I was getting 40 faxes a day. You can’t get them to stop.”
The dental office’s lawsuit against Zimmer Dental Inc. alleged that Zimmer had sent them as many as 19 faxes within just seven months. The majority of these unwanted faxes contained advertisements for dental products that their office did not need.
Zimmer Dental Inc. is an Indiana-based company that sells dental implants and other products professionals in the field.
Junk Fax Lawsuits In Missouri & Illinois
DePenaloz said that he started collecting the Zimmer faxes several months after they began arriving. The office then consulted with an attorney to determine how best to stop this assault-by-fax.
Attorney Ronald J. Eisenberg gathered the evidence and found that the Zimmer faxes provided neither a fax number, nor an opt-out notice. Eisenberg explained that the Telephone Consumer Protective Act (TCPA) strictly prohibits most faxed advertisements, auto-dialed phone calls, and text advertisements without a proper opt-out notice that meets the following requirements:
- Provides a cost-free (toll-free or local) telephone number for sending an opt-out request
- Provide a cost-free facsimile number for sending an opt-out request, AND
- Inform the recipient that “failure to comply within 30 days with a valid opt-out request is unlawful.”
The attorney found that very few faxes contain all three requirements for advertising. Instead, most faxes—like Zimmer’s—ask businesses to call their phone number to be removed from fax advertisements.
Zimmer’s faxes did not provide the opt-out notice.
Minimum Settlement Of $1.6 Million
Eisenberg called the settlement “unique,” citing the minimum settlement of $1.6 million that meant at least $100 would go to members of the class for each fax. Of 36,215 potential fax recipients, 3,709 responded to a notice of the settlement that was sent to them by mail or fax.
Of those, 486 went to Missouri and 1,530 went to Illinois.
Eisenberg said that 3,600 submitted a simple claim that will likely earn $180 for each fax. In a separate category, the 109 with proof of the number of faxes they received will get $180 per fax.
He said that the second group averaged 20 faxes, and therefore will receive an average of $3,600.
The class included anyone who received one of Zimmer’s faxes since Feb. 17, 2011, as long as the recipient didn’t either have an established business relationship with Zimmer or hadn’t given the company permission to send a fax. The faxes also had to be lacking notices that the recipient could halt them by calling or faxing a number.
Has Your Business Been Affected By Fax Marketing?
Medical professionals like doctors, dentists, and chiropractors still receive dozens of faxes every single day. While most are important, junk faxes can be a nuisance, and even affect your business; wasting ink, paper, and time.
If your business has been receiving unwanted faxes that do not include an opt-out notice stating that “failure to comply within 30 days with a valid opt-out request is unlawful,” you may be entitled to compensation.
Call our office at 314-444-4444 or email us at email@example.com. We have intake specialists working 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We’re here to help.