The National Association of Realtors has expressed support for new rules that the Federal Communications Commission implemented for the Junk Fax Prevention Act.

The trade group had opposed the initial junk fax rules, which required signed, written permission for businesses to send faxes to individuals, for example.

In an announcement last yearthe Realtors group stated that Realtors “would have been forced to create and store over 66 million permission forms to sustain the over 6 million home sales transactions that occurred (in 2004)” under the act’s original provisions.

The Realtors group was joined by hundreds of other businesses and trade organizations that also filed a petition requesting a delay in the implementation of the rules. The FCC granted an extension to give Congress more time to consider do-not-fax legislation.

“NAR supported provisions of the new rules which clarify the responsibilities of businesses when sending unsolicited faxes and implement the … new consumer right to ‘opt out’ of receiving faxes even from those with whom the recipient has an established business relationship,” according to an announcement last week.

Congressman Fred Upton (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet and a chief sponsor of the junk fax bill, supported NAR’s position. In a letter to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, Upton expressed concern about implementing rules that may overly burden legitimate business activities conducted by fax, according to the NAR announcement.

“Congress’ fundamental purpose in adopting the Junk Fax Prevention Act was to strike a more appropriate balance between protecting the privacy interests of consumers and avoiding unnecessary and burdensome restrictions on businesses. I believe the FCC’s final rules both respect this goal and are straightforward enough so senders in all segments of the American economy will be able to comply. The final rules are both good for the consumer and good for businesses throughout the nation,” Upton stated.

The final rules allow faxes sent in the context of informal business relationships, which is important to the real estate industry, according to the announcement. The final rules give small businesses flexibility in complying with the law’s requirement to provide consumers with a free mechanism to transmit a do-not-fax request.

“The FCC rules are a win-win for small businesses and consumers alike,” said 2006 NAR President Thomas M. Stevens, in a statement. “The FCC’s approach represents a sensible balance between the legitimate interests of consumers to avoid unwanted faxes and the need of businesses to reach their customers.”


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