Florida has enacted a bill unanimously passed by its legislature that updates the Florida Consumer Protection Law and the Florida Telemarketing Act; creating what is essentially a stricter version of the federal law known as the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (the TCPA). CS/SB 1120, also known as Florida’s “mini-TCPA,” represents a serious risk for every consumer-facing entity that does business in Florida and interacts with existing and potential customers through telemarketing, text messaging and direct to voicemail transmissions.
Not only does this mini-TCPA introduce a private right of action—paving the way for lawsuits under the statute’s more expansive definition of what constitutes an auto-dialer—the bill also creates a rebuttable presumption that a call placed to a Florida area code is made to a Florida resident (or to a person located in Florida at the time of the call) and requires prior express written consent in nearly every situation. This bill took effect July 1. As a result, it is critical that businesses evaluate these changes and be prepared to update and adjust marketing campaigns and customer outreach to minimize exposure.