Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Cost of Faxes

I recently had to redo a service agreement with a company. I had electronically signed the pdf file, but the other company said they no longer accept that type of signature. So I had to go through the process of printing, signing and then rescanning the document. If you've got a high speed copier/printer/scanner, it's not a big deal. If you've got a scanner that works one sheet at a time, it's annoying. It's just aggravating that electronic signatures are not accepted in this day and age of ubiquitous devices with computing power. The cost of printing and scanning doesn't cost much in terms of paper and ink--especially if you print on the back of reusable paper.

A small company ($1 million in revenue) is being sued because they failed to put an opt-out clause on their fax. They had called a potential client. They asked if they could send more information via fax; the potential client agreed. Now the client is suing them for failure to follow the regulations. The penalty could be $500 or $1500 per fax. That's pretty costly printing expense. I understand the law wanted to ensure compliance by making the fines steep to discourage 'junk' faxes. However, the fine for legitimate faxes has nothing to do with the cost of printing a fax, nor the aggravation cost. If this company loses, I hope the jury (or judge) sets aside the penalty in this case or reduces it to a $1/fax.

Now if I could only get a law that requires the use of electronic signatures, I wouldn't have to waste paper and ink.

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