By Angela Garfinkel
There have been many changes to telemarketing rules and regulations in 2021. The most notable change was the April 1, 2021, U.S. Supreme Court decision in Facebook v. Druid.
That decision effectively neutered the plaintiff’s bar in their pursuit of Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) class action lawsuits across the U.S. Here are the top takeaways from the decision:
- The decision narrowed the definition of an autodialer. Now virtually all telephony equipment (including predictive dialers) is non-Automated Telephone Dialing Systems (non-ATDS).
- This decision does not impact the restriction on robocalls or prerecorded voice messages.
- The decision does not impact the other provisions of the TCPA, including compliance with the National Do-Not-Call list.
Florida Telemarketing Rules
On June 29, 2021, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law CS/SB 1120, a telephone solicitation bill effective on July 1, 2021.
This law amended the Florida Do-Not-Call Act and the Florida Telemarketing Act and provides a private right of action for telemarketing and text marketing violations. Some industry insiders are calling it a mini-TCPA.
Also, many other states are expected to follow Florida’s lead, so watch out. Florida was the first state to create Do-Not-Call regulations in the nineties.
The Florida Do Not Call Act now requires a company to have Prior Express Written Consent (PEWC) from the called party before placing calls or sending text messages using an automated system or a prerecorded call.
Penalties for Violating Telemarketing Rules
Now, here’s the bad news. Unlike the TCPA, Florida widened the definition of an ATDS, making virtually all telephony equipment and dialers an ATDS. As a result, each per-call violation of $500 can triple to $1,500 per call; companies must capture PEWC before calling or texting a Florida telephone number or a Florida resident.
The Florida Telemarketing Act now restricts how many times a company can place a call to a customer or prospect and when the calls can be placed.
Permissible calling times are now 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (the previous call times were 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.). Plus, a telemarketer may only place up to three calls in 24 hours to one person, regardless of any particular number called.
In addition, the amendments added an anti-spoofing provision that prohibits utilizing technology to deliberately display a caller ID number that conceals the caller’s true identity.
Some programs are exempt from the Florida Do-Not-Call Act and the Florida Telemarketing Act, including most Business-to-Business programs. Still, conduct a careful review of the Florida law before placing outbound telemarketing calls to Florida phone numbers or Florida residents.
Angela Garfinkel is the president and founder of Quality Contact Solutions, a leading outsourced telemarketing services organization. Angela has the pleasure of leading a talented team that runs thousands of outbound telemarketing program hours each day. Contact Angela at firstname.lastname@example.org or 516-656-5118.