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  • Writer's pictureBilly Howard

Annoyed by robocalls? Proposed Florida legislation may result in unwanted phone calls and texts

Lawmakers in Tallahassee are considering some potentially disastrous changes to Florida’s Telemarketing Act that may result in unwanted phone calls and texts.

The proposed changes would make all telemarketing robocalls legal, including those made by scammers. HB 761 (Rep. Fabricio) and SB 1308 (Sen. Yarborough) would do just that.

In 2021, the Florida Legislature unanimously passed bipartisan legislation creating provisions within our Telemarketing Act designed to prevent robodialed telemarketing cold calls (and text messages) to consumers in Florida.

These changes held robocallers accountable by creating a civil cause of action against such telemarketers, a measure that has thus far been very effective in reducing these intrusive calls.

In 2021, the number of FTC complaints from Floridians regarding unwanted calls was an astounding 388,227 and rising, up almost 100,000 from the previous year. Florida’s Telemarketing Act went into effect July 1, 2021, and in 2022, the FTC reported only 211,635 complaints.

This is an astounding 45 % decline in Floridian complaints compared to the 2021 figures, according to the FTC’s Do Not Call Data Book published in 2022.

Our telemarketing law as presently written is an important and effective law that shields the privacy and tranquility of Floridians from robo dialed telemarketing harassment. The current law is straightforward - if you want to call or text in mass using an “automated system” you simply must have written consent to do so. Our Florida law is the gold standard and is being copied by other states across the country - because it is working and fair.

The time, sanity, and tranquility of Floridians are valuable treasures and are not to be trifled with. Consumers simply do not want telemarketing robocalls. Florida had 4.1 billion robocalls into Florida in 2021, and 140,000,000 less robocalls in 2022-as a direct result of our law.

Our law is working, and I thus urge Florida citizens to call their representatives and tell them to vote “no” on the proposed bill which would blow up our law and make all telemarketing calls legal.

Lawmakers should oppose these irresponsible bills HB 761/SB 1308 and preserve Florida’s Gold standard for telemarketers.

Published at 5:08am ET April 25, 2023

Billy Howard is an attorney specializing in consumer rights and privacy.


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