Florida TCPA Law & Do Not Call Guidelines
The Lyon Firm is investigating all TCPA violations nationwide, and reviewing Florida TCPA protections in regard to the state’s new telemarketing law. Call now for a free and confidential consultation.
In July of last year, Florida enacted an updated, comprehensive telemarketing law that (in some ways) goes beyond the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).
Florida’s so-called “Mini-TCPA” is simply an updated version of the Florida Consumer Protection Law and the Florida Telemarketing Act. But this is a win for the consumer and a potential disaster for telemarketing entities in Florida that engage in unlawful text messaging, direct to voicemail, and auto-dialed transmissions.
The new Florida TCPA law expands the type of equipment that falls under current violations, clarifies the consent guidelines, and maybe most importantly, creates a private right of action which allows Florida residents to seek $500 (or $1,500) per violation. To put this in perspective, many violators send dozens of texts and voicemails to consumers on Do-Not-Call lists, and these potential damages add up very quickly.
What’s Included in the Florida TCPA Law?
The Florida TCPA law (CS/SB 1120) prohibits a person or company from “knowingly allow[ing] a telephonic sales call to be made if such call involves an automated system for the selection or dialing of telephone numbers or the playing of a recorded message when a connection is completed to a number called without the prior express written consent of the called party.”
What is a Telephonic Sales Call?
A telephonic sales call is defined as the following: “a telephone call, text message, or voicemail transmission to a consumer for the purpose of soliciting a sale of any consumer goods or services, soliciting an extension of credit for consumer goods or services, or obtaining information that will or may be used for the direct solicitation of a sale of consumer goods or services or an extension of credit for such purposes.”
The prior Florida TCPA Do Not Call laws had loopholes, and had allowed an automated call where the calls or texts were made in response to calls initiated by the called individual.
What Are Other Updates to the Florida Do Not Call Act?
The term “Automated System” may include a broader range of technology than previously argued in the courts. The automatic telephone dialing systems used by telemarketing firms may also include systems that manually select numbers to call and automates the dialing of those numbers. This could be another key loophole closed to protect Florida consumers.
- Prior Express Written Consent: “Prior express written consent” is required for telemarketing-style sales calls, including text messages and prerecorded voicemails that use an automated system. Express written consent is a written agreement signed by the called party that authorizes the placement of a sales call using an automated system. By law, the consent must include the signatory’s phone number and a clear disclosure informing the called party that they authorize the call.
- The new Florida TCPA law opens the possibility that the regular phone user could be someone other than the subscriber. This will make confirming that the person opting-in with prior express written consent is the “regular user of the telephone number” challenging.
- The Florida law allows call times between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. (instead of between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m.) and restricts calling the same person more than three times in a 24-hour period.
- Exempted calls include the following: those calling for religious, charitable, political, or educational purposes, as well as callers from a “supervised financial institution,” which includes commercial banks and lenders, insurance brokers and business-to-business calls.
If companies are not in compliance, with ample time passed to give them time to adjust their practices, they may be liable for significant damages. Plaintiffs can file a class action and seek compensation. The Lyon Firm has filed numerous TCPA lawsuits on behalf of consumers nationwide.