Written By Mira Saad, Stetson University Summer Intern

 

Florida becomes the first state to expand protection for consumers receiving “telephonic sales calls”.

Effective on July 1st, 2018, an amendment of Florida Statute 501.059 “expands the definition of ‘telephonic sales call’ to include voice mail transmissions”. Under the new act, officially known as the Florida Do Not Call Act, prohibitions are expanded to include unsolicited voicemail messages. The bill also requires telephone sales persons to provide a telephone number that can be reached.

The passing of this bill is a win for Florida consumers. Although there is still a long road ahead in addressing “abusive robocalls”, Florida is the first state to begin the process.

Not only is this bill a win for consumers, but also for phone companies who will now have the authority to block certain robocalls. Telecommunications companies who provide a voice communication service are authorized to preemptively block certain calls including: when a customer has requested that calls purporting to originate from their number be blocked because it is used for inbound calls only; a number that is not a valid number; originating from a valid number that has not been allocated to a telephone service provider; and/or originating from a valid but unused number.

Should the provisions in the statute be violated, the Department of Legal Affairs “may bring an action to impose a civil penalty and to seek other relief, including injunctive relief, as the court deems appropriate against the telephone solicitor”.

In addition to these protections, Florida residents can register themselves under the Florida Do Not Call List administered by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Florida residents who do not wish to receive sales calls may have their residential, mobile or paging device telephone number included on this list. Business numbers may not be included on the list. To avoid national telemarketing calls, U.S. residents can register themselves under the National Do Not Call Registry administered by the Federal Trade Commission. If residents still receive unwanted phone calls 31 days after their name was listed on the registry, a complaint can be filed with the Federal Trade Commission.

 

Visit the following links to register: https://www.fldnc.com/About.aspx

 https://www.donotcall.gov/?utm_source=takeaction

For more information on this bill, please visit the links below:

https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2018/00568

https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2018/568/BillText/er/PDF

https://www.flacp.org/policy