An Illinois car dealership has agreed to pay up to $US6.5 million to settle a class-action lawsuit over its unsolicited ‘junk fax’ advertisements, which are barred by federal law, a lawyer told Associated Press (AP).

Promotions for Newbold Toyota-BMW of O’Fallon were faxed to more than 33,000 businesses and homes in early 2001, AP said.

Lawyer Steven Katz, who filed the case last year, told AP the dealership’s owners did not know the practice was illegal when they hired a company to do the advertising.

AP said that if a judge approves the settlement after a September hearing, anyone who received a fax can claim as much as $500 for each advertisement received, the standard penalty under the US federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act. Katz told AP he did not expect everyone to file a claim.

Associated Press said a notice of the settlement was sent – by fax – to the 33,000 numbers turned over by the company that did the faxing for the dealership.

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That company, American Blast Fax of Dallas, is out of business, Katz told AP.