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Got $2,000 without going to court

Email received on Oct 26, 2007

Hello,

I wanted to share my story with you and your visitors.

I run a small business in North Carolina. I had been receiving junk faxes from a local company for years. I had called on numerous occasions and asked them to stop. This only seemed to confirm to them that they had a good fax number. Well, one day I just got fed up. I searched the State House web site for “junk fax” legislation and found the NC junk fax statute which is as clear-cut as a law could be. It says that anyone who receives a junk fax can recover, through a civil suit, $500 for the first offence, $1000 for the second and $5000 (!) for the third and any following offences and I had about ten faxes from them in a file. I thought this might get my harasser’s attention so I printed out the statute and sent it to them via fax on May 15. On May 16 I got another fax. A poke in the eye. I packed up their fax, the statute and a cease and desist-type letter and mailed it to them certified with return receipt. They signed for it on May 18th. On May 22 I got another fax. Now it’s on. I filed a small claims suit for $5000. They hired an attorney who contacted me and we discussed the case. She thought that the Company might exempt from the statute due to some wording in a phone solicitation section of the statute. I politely disagreed and mentioned to her that while she may bring up some good points in small claims court, if I don’t understand her arguments, I will go to District court (with an attorney) and expose her client to the whole enchilada of about $35,000. The statue allows for the plaintiff to recover all attorneys fees in addition to the award, so I was more than willing to escalate this thing. A few days go by and I get another call from the attorney. She proposes a settlement of $1500. I counter with $2500 and we settle for $2000.

Some thoughts…

The statue requires no cease and desist notice of any kind to be sent to the junk fax sender, but it seemed to bolster my case.

An attorney going to small claims court against a layperson is like Pele showing up at a kids soccer game. She should have been able to tie me in knots. I infer from this that she knew her client was screwed and advised them to settle.

I am now PRAYING for another fax from this company!