NEWS RELEASE
Office of Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr.


April 10, 2001 Media Inquiries: Sean Caine 410-576-6357

ATTORNEY GENERAL CURRAN ORDERS BRITISH COMPANIES TO STOP SENDING UNSOLICITED FAXES

Baltimore - Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that his Consumer Protection Division has ordered two British companies, 21st Century Faxes Limited and British Fax Directory, to cease sending unsolicited facsimile transmissions to Marylanders, and to pay restitution to consumers who responded to their unsolicited fax transmissions by calling pay-per-call numbers.

According to the statement of charges, 21st Century Faxes Limited and British Fax Directory, located in London, England, sends fax transmissions to Maryland residents urging them to call pay-per-minute 900 numbers to receive information about various services or products. The solicitations promise information on how the recipient can "Get Paid to Go Shopping!"or lose weight with "New Yummy Yum Yum Diets." In order to obtain the information, a consumer has to call a 900 telephone number to receive another fax transmission at a cost of $2.95 per minute.

Maryland law prohibits sending unsolicited faxes for the purpose of commercial solicitation. The Division charged that by sending the unsolicited faxes, the two companies are committing unfair trade practices in violation of the Maryland Consumer Protection Act.

"The law in Maryland concerning unsolicited faxes is clear," Curran said. "Consumers and businesses have the right to be free from annoying and unwanted faxes."

The Cease and Desist Order requires the companies to immediately cease sending unsolicited fax transmissions to Marylanders, to cease accepting any payments from consumers responding to their unsolicited fax transmissions, All news releases are posted on the OAG website at www.oag.state.md.usto pay restitution to consumers who responded to their faxes by calling pay-per-call 900 numbers, and to pay the Division's investigative costs and the costs of distributing restitution to consumers. In addition, the companies may have to pay civil penalties, to be determined following a hearing.

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