The Federal Communications Commission issued an Order on Reconsideration regarding its Report and Order that revised many of its telemarketing and facsimile advertising rules pursuant to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991. The effective date has been extended until Jan. 1, 2005 by which an established business relationship will no longer be sufficient to show that an individual or business has given express permission to receive unsolicited fax advertisements. The FCC also extended to Jan. 1, 2005 the deadline for senders of fax advertisements to obtain from the recipient a signed, written statement that includes the fax number to which any advertisements may be sent and which clearly indicates the recipient's consent to receive such faxed advertisements from the sender.

About 1,300 trade associations including the National Association of Wholesalers (NAW), the American Supply Association (ASA), the Heating, Airconditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI), the Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA), and the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) had petitioned the FCC for a stay or repeal of the new regulations governing fax usage, which were to become effective Aug. 25.

Some of the associations had expressed concern about the definition of an advertisement. NAW pointed out that for a wholesaler-distributor, this could include product information, special promotions, closeouts, the firm's value-added distribution services, sale of publications and the availability of other products or services. For a trade association, it could include notice of a meeting or training session or a request for dues payment.

One association had estimated it would cost $10,000 in staff time and equipment to gather, organize and store the information that would allow it to continue sending faxes to its members, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Some associations, such as the Plumbing Manufacturers Institute and the MCAA, sent official permission faxes to members in advance of the proposed effective date.

Prior to this rulemaking action, a wholesaler-distributor could send faxed advertisements to any person or company with which the firm had an established business relationship.

NAW had joined with other organizations to file a legal petition urging reversal or postponement of the regulations and met with FCC commissioners, senior White House officials and leadership staff in the House of Representatives and Senate to discuss its concerns.