I’ve been getting bombarded with junk faxes. It used to be one every week or so, then a couple of times a week, and now … non-stop. Every single fax offers cheap vacation packages, and every one of them matches the examples that are apparently the work of Travelcomm aka Patriot Travel aka Cancun Cheap Ticket. And as per junkfax.org, these guys are known scum.
The problem is that there is actually nothing you can do about this. Sure, you can file formal complaints with the FCC (which I have done), you can ask them to remove your fax number (which will likely only increase the junk fax count), and you can call and give them hell (which I have done, just to vent, knowing that it’ll accomplish nothing). I could just unplug the fax machine, but I do need it, and even if I did not I just can’t stomach backing down like that.
One thought that occurs to me is that every 800 call they receive costs them money, so maybe a nice batch of phone lines on an automated repeat dialer could make them miserable, or at least cost them money. But, beyond the satisfaction of being able to annoy them, is it actually worth the effort?
Any other ideas?

14 thoughts

  1. As we are still in a paper society, fax is still important.
    I have had an eFax account for years, and it works well for me. I get an email whenever someone sends me a fax, with an attached PDF of the fax. For the most part, they are deleted, some without even opening. I know who my mortgage broker is, and he doesn’t fax me, so any faxes with mortgage in the header don’t even get opened.
    So no trees get killed, but time is still involved.
    mp/m

  2. Mike Maddaloni makes a good point about eFax. I love Terrence’s suggestion. However, I’m not sure these are YOU, if you get my meaning.
    What you need is to combine these two with CF.
    Acquire some way to send faxes electronically, whether it’s an eFax account, or whatever. Unlimited sending is preferable.
    Create a list of offending fax numbers.
    Scan some random ads from pizza places, junk faxes, etc.
    Set up a scheduled task that runs every night, sending each number a couple dozen random pages.
    Sit back and enjoy the warm feeling this will give you.

  3. Install some fax software on your PC and handle them that way – then just deal with the ones you want and ignore the rest. Some software would probably be able to block out the junk too, I’d be surprised if there wasn’t something that had a blacklist feature.

  4. I think that you are on the right track with calling their 800 number. What I would always do is fax the document right back to their 800 number, setting my fax machine to the maximum number of retries. That way, for most of the day, I could hear them answering the phone and getting the annoying handshaking beeps of a fax machine. I’m not sure if they notice the financial loss, but it sure made me feel better!

  5. Faxes,who uses faxes nowadays!!!
    Surely its better to scan in docs and send via email, why fax?
    Its such an old technology i’m suprised people are still using them.
    Talk about destroying the rain forests, get with the program and bin your fax machine 😉

  6. Actually, junk faxes are illegal. http://www.tcpalaw.com/free/47usc.txt
    I had gotten several junk faxes with same 800 number. After about the 5-6th one I got I called the 800 number and informed them of the above mentioned law and told them I had a copy of every one they have sent thus far. Then I told them that once I had enough faxes from them that the penalty reached 6 figures they would be hearing from my attorney. I haven’t gotten one since. As an added precaution I had my fax number placed on the "Do Not Call" list. Actually, every number I have is on the list now.

  7. I seem to remember the practical joke of looping two pieces of black construction paper so that it forms an "everlasting sheet" around the fax roller, and sending it to a person to completely deplete their ink.
    It’s probably not effective in the case of a junk faxer. But it would also be satisfying.

  8. Totally unhelpful thought: I immediately thought of the scene from Robin Hood: Men in Tights
    "We could fox them"
    Can you imagine if you were being fox spammed? They’d dig up your yard, for sure.

  9. Bryan, they are indeed illegal, and I have reported them over and over to the FCC, who can’t do much about it. And I did request to be removed, multiple times (both automated and talking to someone) and now I get even more of them.
    Damien, A) that’s a pain for many users, B) I still have to manually get rid of them.
    Michael and Terrence, if I had a fax number for them I would so do that. But I don’t, they block caller-id on their outbound faxes.
    Paul, nope, no caller-id.
    — Ben

  10. I’m stunned, I can’t beleive it can still happen in this day and age. People out there spend hours and hours trying to get rid of these, and just get nowhere…
    I really can’t beleive you still have a fax 😉

  11. Ben: Allow me to clarify–you fax the document to their *voice* number. Of course, it never goes through, and it ties up your fax machine, but it can be quite satisfying to hear them answer and get the fax tones.

Leave a Reply