Thursday, August 04, 2016

Florida's Free Do Not Call List

Advancements in technology have greatly improved telecommunications, but they have also resulted in an increase of unwanted sales calls. Fortunately, Floridians can protect themselves from unwanted calls and text by subscribing their residential, mobile or paging device telephone numbers to the Florida Do Not Call list, which is maintained by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Florida residents can subscribe to the Florida Do Not Call list by visiting or calling 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352). Residential, mobile and paging device telephone numbers are eligible to be on the list.

It is unlawful to make telephone sales calls before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. local time or to block the solicitor's name or telephone number to the party called. The use of auto dialers with pre-recorded messages is also not permitted in Florida.

Keep in mind that some unsolicited sales calls are exempt from the provisions of the law. Solicitors may call if: a prior or existing business relationship exists, in response to an express request of the person called, from a newspaper publisher, in connection with an existing debt or contract, in response to a yard sign or other advertisement or not selling a product or service. Additional exemptions include charitable organizations seeking donations, political candidates and political parties seeking donation, research or survey companies seeking an opinion and collection agencies trying to locate a debtor or collect on a debt.

The most frequent violations of the Do Not Call law occur because a solicitor: failed to identify his or her true first and last names and the business on whose behalf he or she is soliciting immediately upon making contact; called a telephone number on the Do Not Call list (subscriber); or made a pre-recorded sales call to either a subscriber or non-subscriber.

Reporting violations is critical to the success of the program

Consumer complaints enablethe Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to penalize violators of the Florida Do Not Call program. All violations should be reported to the department. Complaints can be filed online or by calling 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352) to request a Do Not Call complaint form by mail/email. When filing a complaint, attempt to obtain as much information as possible from the caller, including the name of the person making the call, the company calling, telephone number of the company, date and time of the call and what product or service they were offering.

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