TAMPA, Fla. — A new law in Florida is taking aim at telemarketers who call or text consumers who didn’t give written permission. Taking Action Reporter Jackie Callaway found a class-action lawsuit filed in Pinellas County will put this new rule to the test.
At first, the unsolicited texts annoyed Cheri Aul. David’s Bridal sent dozens of messages over the summer, she said. According to court records, most of the messages advertised discounts on wedding attire. But the Pinellas County woman said she never signed up for the texts and she’s not in the market for a wedding gown.
By law when a consumer replies with the word stop to an unwanted solicitation the messages must stop. Court records show Aul texted “stop” to David’s Bridal messages eight times in September alone.
“I texted ‘stop’ and I got confirmation ‘you have opted out and will not receive more promotional messages from David’s Bridal,” Aul said.
David’s Bridal confirmed receiving Aul’s multiple messages to opt-out, court records showed. But phone records show the messages from the bridal-wear company didn’t stop.
“We are now months later and it's continuing,” Aul said.
Fed up and frustrated, Aul contacted consumer attorney Billy Howard.
Earlier this month he filed a class-action lawsuit against David’s Bridal in Pinellas County Court based on Florida’s new telemarketing law.
“It applies to telemarketers only, but they must have your express written consent,” Howard said.
The case seeks $500 for every text sent to every person in Florida by David’s Bridal and an injunction against future unsolicited contact.
Governor DeSantis signed Senate Bill 1120 into law in July. It requires a company to obtain “prior express written consent of the called party" before it can make calls or send messages using an automated system. The law applies to any automatic calls or texts.
ABC Action News reached out to David Bridal's public relations team three times and asked for a comment on the lawsuit. So far, the company has only responded in court, filing a motion for more time to respond.
Aul says she wants to send a clear message to companies who call or text without permission.
“I want the companies to recognize that the consumers aren't going to tolerate the bad behavior,” she said.