We’ve reached settlements in fax cases before. What’s different is that, this time, they didn’t bail on the deal at the last minute. Which isn’t to say the one guy didn’t want to.
It was pretty obvious which of the three people didn’t want to deal. It woulda been the guy who was muttering under his breath about “extortion.” I wonder if he talks that way about speeding tickets, too. The junk fax law is really simple. “Do not send unsolicited faxes.” It’s not a hard law to follow, and there’s a penalty when you break it. No big deal. You screw up, you pay the penalty. Life goes on.
He said some pretty funny things. He tried to get me to “admit” that it’s all about the money. If it were all about the money, would I have settled with them for \$750, when I had good evidence of willful and knowing violations on two consecutive faxes (giving us damages of \$3,000, plus attorney’s fees)? No. I wouldn’t.
What makes it exceptionally pathetic is that, right there in their contract, there’s a clause talking about the TCPA - the law they broke. They knew about that law; they signed an agremeent saying they would not use the faxing equipment they were leasing to break it. Gosh, that makes them look clever. Here’s what it says, in section 1.2:
Customer agrees that it shall not (a) sell, resell, rent, lease, lend, or otherwise transfer the Software or ortherwise breach LAN’s Software license or (b) otherwise breach LAN’s license or breach or fail to comply with any applicable law or regulation of California or any State to which customer transmits by facsimile transfer using the System, the United States or any other State or jurisdiction applicable to faxing of unsolicited advertising, promotional or other materials, mass faxing, spam, junk mail, or the use of the System, including without limitation California Business & Professional Code Section 17538.4 and TCPA 47 U.S.C. section 227 etal.There it is. Customer agreed to comply with laws. Our friend, Zachary Roux, put his signature to a contract saying he would not use the system to break the TCPA. Then he sent junk faxes. And then, he thinks it’s unfair when he gets busted.
He said, to one of his colleagues, that he was probably losing more money not being in the office than he was paying this “extortion”. Y’know what? If he’s losing more than \$250 by not being in the office for a couple of hours, then whining about the money is more than a little pathetic. Anyone who is making more than a couple hundred bucks a day should be able to deal.
It’s still sad. It’s sad to see a grown man’s body with the attitude of a little kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar. You expect better of people. You think that they understand that, if you make the conscious decision to break a law, that you’re accepting the potential to be penalized under that law. Maybe he never read the contract; maybe he just signed a contract in bad faith. Does it matter? There’s no way he’s clean in this picture. He broke a law, knowingly. He did something obviously wrong. He got busted. He whined like a little kid.
Speaking of getting busted, his check lists a Minneapolis Minnesota address, and a Wisconsin driver’s license. Now, you’re allowed to drive on an out-of-state license in Minnesota - for sixty days. I don’t know that you’re allowed to do it for long enough that it would make sense to have an out-of-state driver’s license preprinted on your checks. Who knows? I hope he has the sense to make sure his Minnesota license is current within sixty days of starting to drive here.
The personal attacks were pretty funny, too. I had brought a new keyboard along to show my lawyer (it’s a Happy Hacking Keyboard, and it’s a really cool little keyboard). While we were waiting for copies, I was typing on it. Not that it was connected to anything; it’s just that typing on a good keyboard is a wonderful fidget. If you can’t understand why anyone would want to do this, you must not have a good keyboard. So, Mr. Roux unleashed his full, towering, wit. “You must pick up a lot of girls that way.” Wow. I mean, “pick up girls”. Was this guy a high school student tagging along with the other people?
You could tell he didn’t want to settle. I almost wish I’d let him bait me into not settling; after all, we’d be in court, asking for \$3,000 plus reasonable legal fees. The fees add up pretty quickly when you make a lawyer do a lot of extra work just to find out who you really are. But the fact is, we didn’t really care about these poor suckers. They, along with a lot of other mortgage brokers, have been suckered by a bigger fish, who sells them incredibly overpriced stuff. \$21,000 for a few tweaks to an old Claris Home Page file. IANMTU.
So, we got what we wanted - information about the big fish. We got a little tiny pittance, enough money to cover costs in pursuing a couple of junk faxers. Nothing big.
The guy sure was a sore loser, though. But, for all his bluster, that’s what he was; the loser. He lost. He screwed up, he got tagged. Maybe just once, but we have his signature on a document saying he won’t do junk faxes again. Of course, he signed something before saying he wouldn’t break the TCPA. Maybe we’ll be seeing him again.
From: Melvin Grier
Date: 2003-09-20 14:15:32 -0500
Date: 2003-09-20 15:13:17 -0500
You said something about wanting to see the pants war.
Come help me out here, you’re a cargo-pants supporter too! Either back my play or take those pants off! … either one’s fine…
Date: 2003-09-20 15:16:18 -0500
Waitasec waitasec. Actually ditch the ? and everything after it on that link. So it looks like this:
Cuz you have to see how Matt STARTED the Pants War. He is an INSTIGATOR! The fiend!
Date: 2003-09-20 23:13:17 -0500
What’s the deal with the pants?
In any event, ol’ Zach was pretty damn obnoxious when we were completing the settlement. His “pick up chicks” comment was made while we were at the bank down the street getting signatures notarized. I’ll bet they were all super-impressed down there.
Hey Zach, here’s a clue. Seebs may look like a geek, but YOU HAD TO PAY HIM MONEY! In the future, it might be a wise thing to not violate federal law in your advertising. Further, I’m watching you folks. I figure anyone who violates TCPA might also violate RESPA, TILA, or TILA. The damages for violating those statutes is NOT nominal.
Date: 2003-09-21 15:04:04 -0500
The ‘pick up chicks’ comment is not only lame, it’s rather telling. That’s apparently the sort of thing that occupies the man’s skull. I pity.
About the pants: it exists to be stupid. Don’t worry about it.
From: zach roux
Date: 2005-03-24 14:41:35 -0600
this is great. i just stumbled on it.
From: zach roux
Date: 2005-03-24 14:47:55 -0600
do you still have that plush office in st paul. i was really impressed when i walked in. looks like you have a very successful practice.
Date: 2005-03-24 18:50:05 -0600
I have stylin’ new furniture, paid for by a predatory lender.