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WASHINGTON - New facsimile transmission rules being considered by the Federal Communications Commission could severely impact the way grocery wholesalers do business, said Food Marketing Institute president and CEO Tim Hammonds in a letter sent to FCC chairman Michael K. Powell on Monday.
FMI is requesting that the FCC stay the Facsimile Advertisement Rules contained in the recently published Rules and Regulations Implementing the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (68 Fed Reg 44144 (2003)).
"While the new rules governing unsolicited facsimiles will impact all of FMI's members, they will have an especially severe impact on our wholesaler members. These new commercial fax rules would require that even where wholesalers have an existing and ongoing business relationship with their customers they be required to obtain prior express written permission before sending any 'unsolicited' commercial facsimile transmissions. This abandons the established business relationship exemption long accepted as common and legitimate business practice without clear notice and opportunity to comment," Hammonds said in the letter.
Hammonds pointed out that the new rules would disrupt the common method by which grocery wholesalers and their retail customers transact their business. "Since many of the products covered under these practices are highly perishable in the supermarket business, and since many of these products must be delivered to stores several times each week, any disruption in the flow of products will cause irreparable harm to wholesalers, the family-owned supermarkets they serve and the consumers that depend on them throughout America," he noted.
FMI requests that the FCC grant a stay for the facsimile advertisement rules until the business community has an adequate opportunity to provide comment and until the FCC properly evaluates the issue.