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Florida's Communication Laws Crack Down on Misleading Emails

The Sunshine State's laws that apply to phone, email, telemarketing, and other media protect its citizens from being deceived by businesses.
By Simpluris Research
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Top Class Actions discussed Florida's email laws that protect the public from being misled by businesses. Some of Florida’s communication regulations include its telephone anti-solicitation law, predating the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), the Florida Telemarketing Act, the Electronic Mail Communications Act, and the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTP).

According to Florida's Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), the state's establishment for consumer complaints, information, and protection, "The telephone solicitation (Do Not Call) law requires FDACS to produce a list of telephone numbers of subscribers who do not wish to receive solicitation calls for the sale of consumer goods or services. It requires certain disclosures and prohibits the use of an automated solicitation device with a recorded message. 

We appreciate the efforts of responsible citizens to assist us in identifying trends that permit us to investigate and pursue enforcement actions.
- Florida Attorney General's Website

"The Florida Telemarketing Act requires non-exempt businesses that solicit the sale of consumer goods or services to be licensed."

According to the Florida State Legislature, the Electronic Mail Communications Act "prohibits fraudulent, false or deceptive e-mail messages and the distribution of software designed to falsify information in the e-mail header, which would conceal the true origin of the e-mail message." According to the article, this law forbids businesses from sending emails that:

  • Were sent for a business or commercial reason;
  • Were unsolicited and sent by a business that the recipient doesn’t have a business relationship with;
  • Were received by a Florida resident or sent by a Florida business;
  • And meet at least one of the following conditions: a) Contains false or misleading information in the email subject line; b) Contains a false header (falsified, missing routing info, obscures sender identity, etc.)

Ashley Moody, Florida Attorney General

Ashley Moody, Florida Attorney General

According to the Florida Legislature, FDUTPA serves three purposes:

  1. To simplify, clarify, and modernize the law governing consumer protection, unfair methods of competition, and unconscionable, deceptive, and unfair trade practices.
  2. To protect the consuming public and legitimate business enterprises from those who engage in unfair methods of competition, or unconscionable, deceptive, or unfair acts or practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce.
  3. To make state consumer protection and enforcement consistent with established policies of federal law relating to consumer protection.

Florida residents who have received emails in violation of these state laws may be eligible for a class-action lawsuit to recover up to $500 in damages for each e-mail violation. Those affected would need to file their complaints with the Office of the Florida Attorney General. Spam complaints are entered into a database for “potential enforcement action,” which is monitored for trends and used to identify possible criminals.

The Florida Attorney General’s website says, “We appreciate the efforts of responsible citizens to assist us in identifying trends that permit us to investigate and pursue enforcement actions."

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