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It Isn't Revenge, It's Accountability
A guy in England wins a court victory against a spammer. Paul Lewis writes in The Guardian:

Nigel Roberts, 37, who runs an internet business in the Channel Islands, wrote a letter of complaint to Media Logistics UK - a company specialising in "electronic direct marketing" - after it sent him an unsolicited email advertising the services of a contract car company.

"I wrote to the company asking for an apology and claiming damages under regulation 30 of the privacy regulations," Mr Roberts said yesterday. "I also asked under the Data Protection Act for details of the data that the company had obtained and stored about me - and I particularly wanted to know who had supplied them with my email address."

Frustrated by the company's failure to respond with the information and damages he requested, Mr Roberts decided to pursue the matter in a Colchester small claims court under a new anti-spamming law, the Directive on Privacy and Telecommunications, which enables individuals to claim damages against the distributors of unwanted emails. His legal action is thought to be the first of its kind under the directive.

The judge ruled in Mr Roberts' favour yesterday, and he agreed £270 damages and a £30 claim fee in an out-of-court settlement with the marketing company. Although Mr Roberts settled for relatively small amounts, legal experts say much higher sums could be awarded in higher courts.

Let's see more of this. Get a telemarketing phone call or a junk fax? Track the company down and make the thieves pay. And yes, they are thieves -- stealing your time and your toner and using the phone and net connection you pay for to invade your life and sell you shit...and it's about time more people looked at them that way.

I'm waiting for the right fax assault (one where I can track the junk faxer down without too much work), then I'm going to try to press criminal charges against them for theft of my fax toner. If you're a lawyer trolling here, feel free to comment on whether that's actually possible. I just love the idea, though, of showing the scammers that they can't just take people's time and office supplies without paying -- if only in aggravation.

Guardian link via Buzzmachine

Posted by aalkon at December 30, 2005 8:42 AM

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ARRGGG!! The fax spammers drive me nuts. If you figure out how to stop them, sue them, or otherwise annoy them even half as much as they annoy me I will just have to decide that you are my hero.

Posted by: Christina at December 30, 2005 11:21 AM

Under the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act, it's $500 civil damages per fax and $1500 per fax if they send the fax to an unwelcoming recipient. You can sue them in small claims court.

I've seen these cases before - the marketing company (faxer) blames the business that supplied the customer list, and the business blames the marketing company for misdialing or providing incorrect numbers as part of a marketing package that the business bought from the marketing company. The courts don't care though - they'll ring the marketing company up for sending the fax and let the business and marketing company sort it out while the consumer gets his civil damages.

Posted by: Josh at December 30, 2005 12:04 PM

But first, you must find them.

Posted by: Christina at January 2, 2006 1:09 PM

Federal law states that an ID must be at the top of each fax. That's a good starting point in tracking them down. Any biz that wants your $ in their junk fax usually has some details in the fax itself.

While it's not a junk fax, I successfully sued a clueless spammer in small claims court. You see the check if you want to.

Posted by: Don at January 8, 2006 2:52 AM

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