- The Government is under pressure from Labour MPs to introduce tough new curbs on companies which send out millions of unsolicited "junk faxes".
Thirty six MPs have signed a Commons motion attacking the fast-growing £18 million a year "faxback" industry for advertising goods and services which consumers obtain by faxing or telephoning premium rate numbers. Call charges can cost up to £1.50 per minute, with 60 per cent going to the "faxback" firm and 40 per cent to the telephone operator.
Dan Norris, the Labour MP who tabled the motion, said: "Irritation and inconvenience are being caused by unsolicited faxes to domestic addresses, often late at night. Children may respond to junk faxes, using high cost premium rate telephone numbers."
The MPs urged the Government to protect the public against "junk faxes" by tightening up the regulations which apply to the communications industry.
Ministers are keeping the issue under review, saying they will be prepared to act if the industry fails to "put its own house in order".
The y have welcomed moves to crack down on offensive and misleading "junk faxes" by the Independent Committee for the Supervision of Standards of Telephone Information Services.
One company which sent out up to two million faxes containing crude jokes was fined £1,000 and banned from operating any premium-rate service for a year after almost 350 complaints to the committee. There are believed to be about 1,000 firms in the industry.