by Pia K. Hansen
SPOKANE -- The Washington State Attorney General's Office has just won a case against California- and Delaware-based Fax.com, also known as FaxID. This is one of the many companies that illegally broadcasts unsolicited faxes, advertising vacation trips, cell phone offers or hotel packages -- at insanely cheap prices.
Of course all the deals are too good to be true, but some consumers do take the bait.
"We've gotten a lot of complaints from people who have responded and gotten a [travel] package deal of some kind," says Zan Deery, communication specialist with the Better Business Bureau. "Then, in the last minute or while they are already on their way, their plans are changed by the company, and they end up not getting what they thought they paid for."
Fax.com/FaxID had more than 70 complaints logged against it in Washington state alone. The company used an automated dialing system to determine if phone numbers were fax lines.
"Apparently, the thing that sent this company to court was that doing so, it basically held up all the fax lines at the University of Washington Medical Center one day," says Deery.
The injunction against Fax.com/FaxID does not mean the flow of all junk faxes will stop, but Deery hopes the litigation will discourage other companies from using the same illegal tactics.
"This is one of those things people think nothing can be done about," she says. "But with enough complaints logged against these companies, we can make a difference."
Women at work
SPOKANE -- Some local high-tech businesses have a hard time filling vacant positions with people who already live in Spokane. Adding to that problem may be the fact that high-tech career fields don't attract as many women as they could.
To draw more attention to these non-traditional career fields, the Life Skills/Women's Center at Spokane Community Colleges will hold a one-day conference this Monday. The conference aims to reach women between 13 and 65, as well as teachers and career counselors.
"We are trying to reach women who are thinking of becoming students," says Shanna Peterson, Life Skills/Women's Programs project manager. "A non-traditional field is one that attracts less than 25 percent women. Even a field like computer programming, which is attracting a few more women, has less than 25 percent."
Keynote speaker at the event is LaVerne Beil, who is a personnel and safety manager with Kato Corporation in North Spokane, a general contractor with work sites in many states.
There will also be presentations by local businesswomen, law enforcement personnel and an introduction to the High Tech High School that Spokane School District 81 is opening this fall at the Holley Mason Building downtown. The 45-minute presentations run all day.
"With proper skills and training, there are great jobs for women out there. And these are high-pay and high-benefit careers," says Peterson. "They can allow women to actually move up in career. And today, that's real important."
The non-traditional careers for women seminar is on Monday, May 21, from 9 am-3 pm at SCC's Lair Student Center, 1810 N. Greene St. Registration begins at 8 am. Free. Call: 533-3779.