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Chamber Survey Shows Opposition to New Fax Rules

Tuesday, March 9, 2004 - 7:00pm

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A member survey by the United States Chamber of Commerce revealed most small business owners expect their costs to rise dramatically if the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proceeds with new restrictions on commercial faxes.

"Small business owners told us it would cost them $5,000 to comply with the paperwork for the do-not-fax rule in the first year, and then it would cost more than $3,000 every year thereafter," said Bruce Josten, Chamber executive vice president. "The fax machine is a vital lifeline for American small businesses."

The FCC has proposed a rule that would restrict the use of commercial faxes, including faxes between businesses and their pre-existing customers, without their prior written consent. The Chamber conducted a member survey to measure the costs associated with obtaining the required consent forms.

It would take small business owners more than 27 hours of staff time to obtain the initial written consent from their customers and another 20 hours each year to keep those forms current, according to the Chamber survey. That time burden for the proposed rule – as calculated by business owners – far exceeds the FCC's estimate that paperwork compliance would take 30 minutes.

"This rule affects nearly every enterprise that sends or receives faxes and would create tremendous burdens on companies as they try to communicate with their suppliers and customers," said Josten. "And the burdens extend beyond dollar figures, as businesses would experience delays in completing projects, with the loss of current and potential customers."

The FCC is currently reviewing comments on the proposed rule. The Chamber has urged the commissioners to reconsider their proposal, given the impact on small businesses, in comments filed on August 8, 2003.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world's largest business federation representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector and region.

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