ASTA Requests Stay on Fax Decision

Group files petition with FCC over unsolicited faxes ruling

The American Society of Travel Agents and the National Tour Association have joined the Business Users Coalition in filing a petition with the Federal Communications Commission over its ruling on unsolicited faxes.

The FCC announced last month that effective Aug. 25, “small businesses ... provide consent to all companies from which they receive certain faxed information.”

In its petition with the business coalition, ASTA requested a six-month stay and said thousands of travel agencies and small businesses would be harmed if the delay were not granted.

ASTA officials said last week that they and members of the coalition had met with the FCC and expected their request to be granted.

An FCC official said last week that the requests are being considered, but he could not say when a decision might be made.

“The travel industry alone accounts for about 18 million faxed pages each month. To abruptly cut off travel agents’ ability to communicate with their vendors and customers, without first allowing them enough time to examine and comply with the law, would be egregious and irresponsible,” said Richard M. Copland, ASTA president and CEO.

In its petition, the coalition said the FCC did not give those affected enough time to obtain the necessary consents.

“Failure to obtain express, written consent could interfere with the flow of information to many small businesses, such as mortgage brokers, travel agents, and publishers of trade circulations that heavily rely on receiving vital business information via fax ... ,” it said in its petition to the FCC.

Small businesses have operated under an established-business relationship exception that allowed them to fax without signed and written consent, for more than 10 years.

In addition to ASTA, the Business Users Coalition is includes the Mortgage Bankers Association of Americ and the Midwest Circulation Association.

Several other national business associations have also appealed the FCC rule. For the latest information,