A Telemarketing Law Faces Pushback & An Amendment

It began with a woman getting texts from David’s Bridal during the summer of 2021. The issues were two-fold: she wasn’t a customer (and so never opted into the texts), and she couldn’t get them to stop. She likened the constant text messaging to abusive behavior. Ultimately, she contacted an attorney who filed a class-action lawsuit against the company. 

How was she able to do this? Because of new legislation, Florida’s Telephone Solicitations Act. This “Mini TCPA” gives consumers the ability to take legal action against most robocallers and robotexters. Now, however, there’s talk that a new amendment could take the legs out from under it. 

A History of Legislation

President Bush signed the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) into law in 1991. It limited when telemarketers could call customers, how they could call (no automatic dialing systems), and established the Do Not Call List—among other things. 

However, Computers and other technology used to make calls has changed dramatically in the last 30 years. Partly because of this, and legal debates concerning newer hardware, Courts were forced to revisit the competing definitions of what constitutes an autodialer. Facebook challenged the broad definition used in large parts of the country, and it’s case went to the U.S. Supreme Court. Although that case is important, one of its side effects was to radicalize Florida’s Legislature. Largely as a reaction to Facebook (which narrowed the Federal law), Florida passed the FTSA. Since it became effective in July 2021, there have been a rash of new FTSA cases filed in state courts – like the one against David’s Bridal. And it all comes down to the word “autodialer.”

An Increase in Lawsuits

With the FTSA, Florida lawmakers have effectively prohibited telemarketing companies from using ANY automated system to contact people without their consent. Because the  new law’s definition was so broad, it inevitably exposed telemarketers to more lawsuits and now there’s been some discussion about rolling it back – at least somewhat. The proposed amendment will accomplish two fundamental things:

  • It defines an autodialer as a device that both selects AND dials phone numbers; and 
  • It will retroactively apply this new definition.

That second point is crucial. If you are facing a claim or are being sued because of the Mini-TCPA, you may soon find that the law that you allegedly violated no longer exists. Stay tuned.

Cove Law P.A. 

The Mini-TCPA in Florida has generated many lawsuits aimed at telemarketers. If you’re facing one of these lawsuits, contact your attorney and discuss what this amendment means for you and your telemarketing company. 

Book a free consultation with Cove Law, P.A. to discuss these issues in deeper detail or meet with an attorney regarding a lawsuit you’re facing.