For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Bob Cooper
(208) 334-4112

Date: July 7, 2008

Wasden Stops Two Companies from Sending Unsolicited Faxes to Idaho

(Boise) – A consent judgment requires Florida company SunStar Travel and Tours, Inc., to stop sending unsolicited faxes into Idaho, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden announced today. The travel company must also reimburse the Attorney General’s costs and fees and pay restitution. A $15,000 civil penalty is held in abeyance pending SunStar Travel and Tours’ compliance with the consent judgment.

SunStar Travel allegedly sent 63 unsolicited faxes to Idaho consumers. The judgment resolves the Attorney General’s lawsuit filed on January 2, 2008, for violations of the Unsolicited Fax Law.

The Attorney General‘s Office also obtained a consent judgment against Marty Sweeten and his Puyallup, Washington, corporation, Hard Money Placement, Inc. Hard Money Placement advertised commercial and residential mortgage loans. Sweeten allegedly faxed 25 unsolicited advertisements to Idahoans, including the Attorney General’s Office.

The settlement resolves the Attorney General’s lawsuit against Sweeten and Hard Money Placement by requiring Sweeten to reimburse the Attorney General’s Office for costs and fees. A $75,000 civil penalty is held in abeyance pending Sweeten’s compliance with the Consent Judgment.

Both settlements require the businesses to include in any fax they send to Idaho a clear and conspicuous disclosure stating the consumer previously provided written permission to receive the advertisement. The advertisement must also include a toll–free telephone number to call to request removal of their fax number from the businesses’ databases within 48 hours.

Idaho’s Unsolicited Fax Law prohibits faxing commercial advertisements to anyone who does not have an established business relationship with the sender. In addition to complying with Idaho’s statute, fax advertisers must comply with the federal law, which requires certain disclosures on all faxes, including the header information and a toll–free “opt-out” telephone number.

“My office receives, on average, 100 unsolicited fax advertising complaints or more each month and we do our best to enforce Idaho’s statute prohibiting such advertising,” Attorney General Wasden said. “Since January, we have sued five businesses suspected of sending more than 325 unsolicited fax advertisements into Idaho.”

The Attorney General’s Office accepts consumer complaints regarding unsolicited faxes. A majority of the complaints are regarding companies advertising stock tips, vacations, discount health care cards, insurance and loans.

Wasden said his office welcomes unsolicited fax ad complaints from Idaho consumers. Consumers may obtain a complaint form from the Attorney General’s website or by calling (208) 334–2424. Idaho residents outside the Boise calling area may call the toll–free number, (800) 432–3545.

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