Many have heard of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) which restricts automated calls or texts without a cell phone subscriber’s consent. The penalties for violating the TCPA are harsh and range from $500 to $1500 per call. TCPA lawsuits, however, were substantially reduced after a US Supreme Court decision in early 2021. Since that time, plaintiff’s lawyers have been looking for their next big payday and it appears they have finally shifted their focus to the Florida Telephone Solicitation Act (FTSA).
The FTSA was passed into law in July 2021 and ever since there has been an avalanche of new lawsuits against companies using lead generation, particularly solar companies and similar home improvement services. The FTSA is much more restrictive than the federal TCPA on making telephone sales calls. For instance, it requires all callers to identify themselves by their true first and last names and the businesses making the solicitations, and prohibits calls to any number on the federal and state “do not call” lists, or hiding caller id. Most commonly, lawsuits are being filed for violation of the FTSA for making a telephone sales call, text or voicemail using an automated system without the “prior express written consent of the called party.”
In addition, prior express written consent is specifically defined under the FTSA with precise requirements that are more burdensome than the TCPA. Penalties under the FTSA include an injunction, damages ranging between $500-1500 per call, and attorneys’ fees and costs.
The FTSA is a nationwide issue as any entity could be subject to a lawsuit in a Florida court for calling or texting a Florida consumer. And worse yet, other states, including Georgia and Washington, are now pushing forward to pass similar laws. It is time, therefore, for companies to ensure that their marketing efforts are in compliance with the FTSA and the remaining sections of the TCPA.