Effective July 1, 2021, the state of Florida introduced a new law that is basically a stricter version of the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).
Often referred to as Florida’s mini-TCPA, the act has many similarities to the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). But all-in-all, Florida’s mini-TCPA is more comprehensive and limits the capabilities of consumer-facing entities that conduct business through telemarketing, text messages, voicemail, and more. The act broadens its definitions, tightens consent requirements, and also allows Florida residents to receive compensation (up to $1,500 per violation plus legal fees).
As a result, companies that rely on customer-facing communications should familiarize themselves with the new legislation and make the necessary changes for compliance.
Here’s what you need to know about Florida’s mini-TCPA law:
Key Changes Florida’s Mini-TCPA Law Introduced
Here are two of the key changes:
- Broadening the definition of an autodialer: Florida’s mini-TCPA broadens the definition of an autodialer. Under the act, an autodialer is an automated system for the selection or dialing of telephone numbers or the playing of a recorded message.
- Forbidding automated calls and texts to those without consent: The mini-TCPA forbids the use of automated tech or pre-recorded responses to conduct calls or send text messages (unless you have the consumer’s consent). This rule applies even if a business wants to respond to a customer query. If the business doesn’t have consent from the consumer and uses an automated system, they could face fines.
Changes to the Telemarketing Act
In addition to the changes made to the Florida Do Not Call Act, SB 1120 also made crucial revisions to Section 501.616 of the Florida Telemarketing Act.
Here are some of the most important changes you should know:
- Commercial calls can only be made between 8am and 8pm, depending on the consumer’s location. Previously, commercial calls could be made until 9pm. This is a crucial change since Florida is subject to both eastern and central time zones. Now, businesses need to ensure they’re only calling during the stipulated hours and determine the time zone of the consumer.
- Businesses are limited to three phone calls to a particular consumer during a 24-hour period if the call is about the same topic or issue. This also applies to phone calls made from different phone numbers.
- Businesses cannot use software or other technology to hide the caller identification number.
How can Shamis & Gentile Help me?
According to the TCPA, violations for spam text messages can range between $500-$1,500 per violation.
Fortunately, Shamis & Gentile, P.A. has successfully litigated many of these actions and directly achieved seven figure settlements for the violations resulting from such spam text messages!
If you’re constantly getting spam text messages, ensure you do the following before seeking counsel:
- Save the text message: Screenshot the text and email it to yourself or print it out. You never know what might happen to your mobile device.
- Identify the company: Write down the phone number that keeps contacting you and determine where they’re phoning from.
- Send us the screenshot: Send the screenshot image of your spam text message by sending a text to 1-833-3TEXT-ME (1-833-383-9863) or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact Shamis & Gentile for a free consultation. We can help you settle your case and get you the settlement check you deserve.