On July 1, 2021, the State of Florida enacted a new law, similar to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, placing restrictions on telemarketing calls and text messages. The amendments to the Florida Consumer Protection Law and Florida Telemarketing Law are now in effect and create a new right, amongst private citizens, to sue telemarketers. The amended Florida law differs from the federal version in some respects in ways that are seemingly more beneficial to consumers. The Florida "mini-TCPA" targets callers that use “an automated system for the selection or dialing of telephone numbers or the playing of a recorded message.” Florida now requires callers to obtain prior express written consent before placing "telephonic sales calls." The law also defines "telephonic sales calls" as a "telephone call, text message, or voicemail transmission to a consumer for the purpose of soliciting an extension of credit for consumer goods and 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." Florida law's express written consent requires the signature if the consumer, clear authorization for the placement of a call, text, or voicemail. Consumers should be careful because many solicitors, such as banks, sneak written consent into many of their agreements. Consumers end up signing these agreements unaware that consent provisions even exist. However, Florida's mini-TCPA seems like a step in the right direction for a state government that has been indifferent to consumer protection for many years. The new law calls on damages up to $500 per call with the possibility of climbing as high as $1,5000 per call for willful and knowing violations.
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