Telephone Solicitation Defense
If you’ve been contacted about your automated calls or text messages violating any laws, it could be due to the Florida Telephone Solicitation Act (FTSA) that was passed on July 1st, 2021. You can look to the business attorneys at Heller Law in Tampa for assistance if you’re facing such charges.
What is the Florida Telephone Solicitation Act?
Under the FTSA, consumers can sue companies that make or promote telephone-based sales calls through an automated system involving “the selection or dialing of telephone numbers” if the party being called had not given “prior express written consent.” Text messages are included in the legal definition of a telephonic sales call.
The FTSA is a broader version of the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act which passed in 1991 and places restrictions on telemarketing phone calls, text messages, and facsimiles as well as automated dialing systems and prerecorded messages.
How Businesses Are Affected
There are plenty of business owners who are unaware of the FTSA’s passing and are now the target of lawsuits, many of which not even being residents of Florida. Since the creation of this act, there’s been a sudden rise in significant lawsuits for business practices that have been perfectly legal for years.
Since the FTSA passed, many businesses have been deluged with class action lawsuits for continuing these practices despite being unaware of the recently enacted law. Even companies that unknowingly call or text a Florida resident from another state can be the target of a lawsuit. This requires non-resident businesses to be aware of Florida-specific laws which is burdensome, unreasonable, and likely unconstitutional.
Cost of “Damages”
The called party is authorized to sue for “actual damages or $500, whichever is greater.” A single text message can be enough to trigger a case. If you are a business owner with at least a couple hundred customers and are asked to pay a few hundred for each person for sending a text, the final cost in damages could be in the thousands to tens of thousands or more.
With some businesses running on limited staff, automated dialing systems allow them to keep up with business matters and better serve their customers. With the instant and convenient nature of phone calls and text messages, it is impractical to have every customer turn in a written document of consent before making such calls.
How We Can Help
The FTSA may violate the the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution because it singles out a “telephonic sales call” regarding “consumer goods or services” for unique treatment, the term “an automated system for the selection or dialing of telephone numbers” is unconstitutionally vague, it is preempted by the federal TCPA, and it improperly burdens interstate commerce, among others. Because of this, there are a number of defenses to fight these lawsuits.
If you’ve been sued under the Florida Telephone Solicitation Act, you can call the Tampa business attorneys at Heller Law for help: 727-828-6701 for. Contact us today to see what we can do for you!