Miami Telephone Solicitation Lawyer
Being interrupted by telemarketers, robocalls or outright scams for your money is high on everyone’s list of the most annoying and harassing events they are forced to endure on a daily basis. Congress has stepped in with laws like the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and the Do Not Call registry, and telemarketers and sales companies that violate these laws can be held accountable to consumers for violating their peace and security.
The Florida legislature has acted in this area as well and has passed strong consumer rights laws regarding telephone solicitation and telemarketing. Learn more about your rights below, and contact an experienced Miami telephone solicitation lawyer at Jacobs Legal in Miami for help pursuing violators of Florida’s telephone consumer protection laws.
Florida statutes section 501.059 requires that:
“Any telephone solicitor who makes an unsolicited telephonic sales call to a residential, mobile, or telephonic paging device telephone number shall identify himself or herself by his or her true first and last names and the business on whose behalf he or she is soliciting immediately upon making contact by telephone with the person who is the object of the telephone solicitation.”
You have the right to be put on the “no sales solicitation calls” list maintained by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs (DCA) to no longer receive unsolicited sales calls on the telephone. If you entered your number on the federal Do Not Call list, the Florida DCA should add you to their list automatically.
Calls to people on the list are prohibited by the law. In addition, telephone solicitors cannot call, text or voicemail anyone who has previously communicated that he or she does not wish to receive such calls. This includes charities as well as sales calls.
Sales made over the phone are not binding until signed in writing
Any contract made on a telephonic sales call is invalid unless it is put in writing and signed by the consumer. This written contract must:
- Match the description of goods or services made on the call
- Contain the contact information of the seller
- Include the total price of the contract and a detailed description of the goods or services sold
- Contain the following in bold, conspicuous type just above the signature line: “You are not obligated to pay any money unless you sign this contract and return it to the seller.”
Not all sales calls are “unsolicited”
The Florida telephone solicitation act considers the following types of calls to be “unsolicited” so that they fall outside of the law’s requirements:
- Calls made pursuant to an express request of the recipient
- Calls made primarily in connection with an existing debt or contract
- Calls made to someone who has a prior or existing business relationship with the caller
- Calls made by a newspaper publisher in connection with business
Also excluded are calls from certain industries, including the financial services industry, securities brokers, cable TV providers, and more. The telephone solicitation rights lawyers at Jacobs Legal can let you know whether a particular caller is breaking the law and violating your rights.
Other prohibitions in the law include:
- No robocalls (a robocall is an automated system that selects and dials numbers or plays a recorded message)
- Caller can’t hide caller ID information
- Caller can’t disguise voice to defraud or confuse the consumer
This law is enforced by the state Attorney General. Companies can avoid civil penalties by making full restitution or reimbursement or paying actual damages to injured consumers.
Florida Telemarketing Act
Similar to the telephone solicitation law in 501.059, Florida has also enacted the Florida Telemarketing Act at sections 501.601-626. This law also prohibits unsolicited phone calls by a salesperson or automated dialer.
Besides unsolicited sales calls, the Florida Telemarketing Act covers all calls, such as:
- Calls that offer a gift, award or prize to the recipient
- Any communication, even a written advertisement, that represents something for sale and invites a response by telephone or is followed by a sales call
This law has over two dozen exemptions for different types of calls and different types of calling organizations. As a consumer, it can be difficult to know whether a particular call is covered under the law. Our consumer rights lawyers know the law and can help you understand if your rights under the law are being violated.
Some of the requirements of the Florida Telemarketing Act include:
- Salespersons must be licensed, and they must give their license number on the call after a sale
- Callers have 30 seconds from the start of the call to state their real name, the company they are with and the goods or services being sold
- Consumers must be informed of their cancellation rights: consumers have three business days after receiving a required written confirmation of sale to cancel; this cancellation can be mailed to the Department of Consumer Affairs if the consumer didn’t get an address from the seller
- All required oral disclosures must be clear and intelligible
- No sale is final until a written contract has been signed
- The contract is voidable by the consumer if certain provisions are not followed, giving the consumer the right to a refund, credit or replacement at the consumer’s option if product is defective and returned
The Florida Telemarketing Act also contains a list of lawful acts and practices, such as:
- Caller may not directly or indirectly accept a “novelty payment”
- Company may not employ or be affiliated with an unlicensed salesperson
- Caller may not be employed by or affiliated with an unlicensed seller
- Seller or salesperson must be licensed
- No calls before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
- Caller may not intentionally block caller ID
You can sue and collect money damages
In addition to enforcement by the Department of Consumer Affairs, the Florida Telemarketing Act allows private individuals to bring civil actions to recover actual damages, such as the difference in value between what they were promised and what they paid. The law also allows plaintiffs to seek punitive damages to punish companies for especially bad behavior. Plaintiffs can also have their attorney’s fees, court costs and other costs of the lawsuit paid for by the other party if they are successful, so suing a company under the Florida Telemarketing Act shouldn’t cost you a dime out of pocket.
Get Immediate Help from Dedicated Florida Telephone Solicitation Lawyers
With so many different state and federal telephone solicitation laws, it can be difficult to know which law applies to your particular situation or will give you the best result. The Florida consumer rights attorneys at Jacobs Legal, PLLC know all the laws and are experienced in helping consumers get excellent results when they have been harassed or defrauded by telemarketers. Call our Miami office at 305-358-7991 to get started today.