07 Jul

July 2021: Florida Passes Amendments to Telemarketing Laws

Posted at

2:17pm

in

Update Applicable to:
All employers who use telemarketing in Florida.

What happened?
On June 29, 2021, Governor DeSantis signed CS for SB 1120 into law. 

What are the details?
The bill, effective July 1, 2021, expands the preexisting telemarketing (call, text, or voicemail) restrictions in Florida while also removing certain exceptions for communications that were previously lawful as well as permitting called parties to seek statutory damages via private litigation.

The bill removes exceptions to autodialer/recorded message restrictions which include:

  • calls made in response to calls initiated by the called party;
  • calls made to numbers screened for unlisted numbers and against the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services “no sales solicitation calls” list; and
  • calls concerning goods or services previously purchased by the called party.

Communications like the above may only be made with “the prior express written consent of the called party” confirmed with a signed (electronically or physically) form that complies with the new statute.

Additional changes that occur due to the bill include the reduction of permitted telemarketing hours to 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and prohibiting a telemarketer from calling a given consumer on the same subject matter more than three times in a 24-hour period. It is also unlawful to use technology that deliberately displays a different caller identification number. These restrictions apply even without the use of an autodialer or recorded message, but do not carry the same private right of action as the following.

The enforcement of the provisions is expanded and creates a private right to action that allows a “called party aggrieved by a violation” to recover $500 in statutory damages (up to $1,500 for willful or knowing violations) and possibly attorneys’ fees. The private right of action is not limited to autodialer and recorded messages claims, it also applies to other violations including preexisting restrictions on calls to persons who either registered their phone number on the state’s do-not-call list or made a do-not-call request directly to the caller; calls disguising the caller’s voice; and calls that fail to transmit the caller’s or seller’s originating and redialable telephone number.

The bill can be read here.

An article on the bill can be read here.

What do employers need to do?
Employers who use telemarketing should read the bill and information above to update their policies as needed.

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