Remember faxes? Clicks and whirs of a modem connecting and the arrival of pages and pages of (often useless) information wasting ink and costing time or money.
The beauty of faxes was they were relatively cheap, at least for the sender, and somewhat hard to stop.
For the price of a short phone call, a business could reach hundreds or sometimes thousands of potential customers. For years, business and organizations would be bombarded by pages and pages of text, sent from random Nigerians asking for bank details in exchange for millions of dollars.
However, as the internet matured, most users realized the limitations of the fax; email became the preferred method.
Apparently, as late as 2009, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were still using mass faxes to try and drum up group ticket sales for home games.
While most saw it as a mere annoyance, Technology Training Associates LLC of Tampa decided enough was enough. Technology Training filed a lawsuit against the football team for their role in the transmission of unsolicited faxes.
‘Junk’ faxes are legally required to include an ‘opt out’ notice – something Technology Training alleges was missing on the Bucs faxes.
The issue behind the suit is unsolicited faxes cost the recipient time and money, as well as potentially blocking a desired fax from arriving, thus qualifying them as theft.
Before this most recent suit, Gainesville resident Craig Steven Cinque – on behalf of himself and others – sued the Bucs in a similar proposed class action case.
According to a 2013 Tampa Bay Times report, approximately 180,000 people were sent unsolicited faxes, theoretically putting the Bucs on the hook for a minimum of $90 million in damages under the Junk Fax Prevention Act of 2005, which establishes a $500 fine for each unwanted fax.
That figure could rise to $270 million, especially if the court determines the faxes were intentional. Hillsborough County records show this case was disposed of in 2013, although the nature of that disposition is unknown.
It is believed the team stopped sending faxes sometime in 2010 shortly after the first suit was filed.
We contacted all parties involved with both the previous and most recent legal actions. We were unable to reach anyone for comment as of press time.
The case continues.