FADA is proud to announce that Governor DeSantis has signed a bill to protect your dealership(s) from trial lawyers seeking to penalize you for contact with your customers. Because of the work of your FADA team, you can rest well at night knowing that you can once again reach out to your customers by telephone, text, or voicemail regarding your services.

Our tremendous thanks to our bill sponsors, Senator Clay Yarborough (R-District 4) of Jacksonville and Representative Tom Fabricio (R – District 110) of Hialeah, who fought valiantly for us during the Legislative Session. Both are being honored as FADA’s 2023 Legislators of the Year.

Representative Fabricio was able to attend our recent FADA Board of Directors meeting where he was recognized for his leadership and for fending-off attempts by Florida’s trial lawyers to defeat the bill. Senator Yarborough was not able to join us at the meeting, but will be honored locally by the dealers.

What Does This Means for You?

HB 761 became law on May 25, 2023, so it protects your store(s) beginning on that day. If your store is currently under a class action suit under the old statute but a class has yet to be certified, the new statute may provide an immediate defense (and open the door for dismissal). Please be sure to check with your legal counsel to see if this applies to you.

Florida’s Telephone Solicitation Act was originally intended to place limitations on how businesses could contact prospects and customers. But in 2021, an amendment to our Act changed some key provisions including the removal of a “safe harbor” that prevented lawsuits against dealers who were simply calling their customers back. These changes resulted in many dealers and other Florida businesses getting served with class action suits for normal customer contact.

The new FADA-introduced legislation returned common sense to the Act. It clarifies “express written consent” to include consent given by consumers on lead-generating websites, and allows you to return calls to customers whom you’ve done business with or who expressly requested a call back. Also, it narrows the kind of equipment that the Act targeted, allowing your BDCs to contact customers using cell phones.

If a customer responds “stop” to your message within 15-days after receipt you must stop any future contacts. You can only be sued if you ignore requests to “stop,” regardless of the dialing equipment you or your vendor may have used.

This legislation will save you thousands of dollars by halting these “gotcha” lawsuits and will enable you to provide key communication to your customer base. That being said, please be sure to check with your legal counsel to ensure your marketing practices are in line with this statute (and related telecom laws, such as the TCPA).

This legislation is a perfect example of why it is important to support FADA and CAR-PAC. Together we are working to protect your business and your future. We appreciate your understanding of how investing in CAR-PAC allows us to represent you on key issues in Tallahassee.