Business Gets Fined for Violating Florida’s Do Not Call List
Usually businesses try to avoid being sued by customers or consumers. But don’t forget the government. Many laws give the government the ability to fine you serious dollars—even if private consumers wouldn’t have a right to sue you.
Business gets Fined by the State
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Service recently fined a company $345,000, after the company violated Florida’s “Do Not Call” list. The list allows consumers to put their phone numbers into a database, keeping advertisers from calling them. There are exceptions to the law, but violating it without those exceptions can have serious penalties, as this company learned the hard way.
The company sold extended car warranties, and often bombarded consumers with ads and solicitations for warranties. Many solicitations were in the form of robocalls—a way of calling consumers that businesses should usually avoid, as there are not only government penalties, but remedies for private consumers, who can get as much as $1,500 in damages under the Federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).
The fine was because the company, according to the state, did not identify its callers by their first and last names, nor was the business’ name identified in many of the calls that it made. There were numerous violations for violating the do not call list.
Be Careful With Calls
The good news when it comes to government fines is that there is usually some warning for businesses, and the businesses that get in trouble tend to be those that ignore those warnings. For example, with the auto warranty fine, the state reported that there were 69 complaints against the company in the span of a few months.
If you are conducting unsolicited sales calls, remember that you cannot call anyone on Florida’s do not call list (or the federal do not call list). The key is that the call must truly be “unsolicited,” to break the law.
That means that businesses are generally free to contact consumers who they have done business with, or with consumers that have requested that they be contacted (for example, by putting their names on a mailing list). Businesses that you have done business with in the past can also call consumers on the do not call list.
Real estate agents are also excluded if they are calling about yard signs or advertisements, and anybody who has a creditor-debtor relationship to the consumer (that is, anybody the consumer owes money to) can also call, regardless of the do not call list.
Any call that is not for the purpose of selling something can also be made.
Remember that these laws and exceptions are only for calling people on the do not call list. There are other restrictions when calling consumers’ cell phones. That means that if your business is considering calling people in bulk, no matter how, you should get legal advice first.
Make sure your company doesn’t get in trouble with the government. We can help you understand complex government regulations. Call the West Palm Beach business litigation lawyers at Pike & Lustig for help.