June 30, 2021
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CS/SB 1120: Important July 1st Changes to SMS Compliance in the State of Florida
At Postscript, we consider ourselves a vested partner in our customer’s success — which is why we strive to communicate both product enhancements and greater industry changes to our brands as quickly as possible.
The rules and regulations around SMS marketing and consumer text message compliance are changing very rapidly. In the absence of clear federal standards, it is likely we’ll see a continuing trend towards a patchwork of state driven regulations.
Our product-led approach to compliance means that compliance will be built into every part of Postscript so you don’t have to manually change things on your end, but sometimes carrier and legislative changes happen too quickly (in this case, in less than a week!) for us to adapt before it becomes effective.
Amendments to the Florida Telemarking Act and the Florida Do Not Call Act (CS/SB 1120) signed on June 28th will impose compliance changes to how brands can use SMS to communicate with customers in Florida. These changes will be effective July 1st and the penalty per violation (per person receiving non-compliant messages) is between $500-$1,500. These legislation-level changes will affect all brands who have subscribers in Florida, regardless of what SMS platform they’re using.
Keep reading to understand what’s changing, what actions you need to take, and what Postscript is doing to automate compliance for this new law so you don’t have to worry about it.
Who is impacted by this new law?
Any brands using SMS to communicate with subscribers based in Florida. Brands based in Florida may also be impacted with respect to their messages sent outside of the state of Florida, though this remains an open question. Our legal team is following updates and we will notify our Florida based customers of any additional regulations.
What is changing under the new law?
Change #1: Altered Quiet Hours
Quiet hours now begin at 8pm in the recipient’s local time. This means that the previous set of quiet hours (from 9pm-8am) will now be 8pm-8am.
Change #2: Further Limitation on Quiet Hour Message Types
Conversational messages (where a brand replies to a message from a consumer) and transactional messages (like shipment notifications) may no longer be permitted during quiet hours.
The exceptions to this are confirmatory opt-in (double opt-in) and opt-out messages. Federal law requires that those are sent immediately, so they will still be sent during quiet hours as applicable.
Change #3: 3 Messages/Day Limit per 24 Hours on Specific Campaign/Product Type
The new laws prohibit shops from messaging a customer more than 3 times in a 24 hour period regarding the same subject matter. We have always advised against multiple campaigns in a 24 hour period. However, these updates go further, possibly limiting message sequences. It remains a gray area as to how this telemarketing focused bill addresses messaging nuances like messaging sequences, messages greater than 160 characters and conversational messaging. We will be monitoring this closely and provide updates as they become available.
Actions you can take to meet these requirements
If you are impacted by these changes (aka you have customers in Florida), there are a few quick steps you can take directly in your Postscript account and across your marketing to make sure you remain compliant after July 1st.
1. [Automatic - no action needed] Postscript customers will automatically adhere to FL quiet hours for all campaigns and automations.
We’re releasing a product update going into effect by July 1st that will screen campaigns and automations to prevent messages from going to Florida numbers during Florida’s quiet hours (8am-8pm est).
2. [Encouraged] Consider updating your site Terms and Conditions to include FL law-specific language.
We suggest updating your Messaging Terms and Conditions to include the Florida specific paragraph below. This can be included immediately prior to the “Miscellaneous” section heading. Our latest template terms and conditions, including these legal updates (highlighted green) as well as carrier driven changes (highlighted blue), can be viewed here.
[Insert to be included immediately prior to the “Miscellaneous” section in existing Messaging Terms and Conditions.]
Florida Law: We endeavor to comply with the Florida Telemarketing Act and the Florida Do Not Call Act as applicable to Florida residents. For purposes of compliance, you agree that we may assume that you are a Florida resident if, at the time of opt-in to Program, (1) your shipping address, as provided is located in Florida or (2) the area code for the phone number used to opt-into the Program is a Florida area code. You agree that the requirements of the Florida Telemarketing Act and the Florida Do Not Call Act do not apply to you, and you shall not assert that you are a Florida resident, if you do not meet either of these criteria or, in the alternative, do not affirmatively advise us in writing that you are a Florida resident by sending written notice to us. Insofar as you are a Florida resident, you agree that mobile messages sent by Us in direct response to mobile messages or requests from You (including but are not limited to response to Keywords, opt-in, help or stop requests and shipping notifications) shall not constitute a “telephonic sales call” or “commercial telephone solicitation phone call” for purposes of Florida Statutes Section 501 (including but not limited to sections 501.059 and 501.616), to the extent the law is otherwise relevant and applicable.
3. [Optional] Pause all automations and campaigns to FL residents until you’ve had time to consider and implement the necessary changes
With such a short deadline for when this law comes into effect, you may want to give yourself extra time to implement the necessary changes. To do so, you can temporarily exclude FL area codes and shipping addresses from your automations and campaigns. Use the steps in the screenshot below to filter so that NO messages are sent to individuals with a FL area code or shipping address. Once you are ready, you can remove this filter.
Postscript: your partner in compliance
At Postscript, we believe in a product-led approach to compliance. This means that compliance will be built into every part of Postscript so you don’t have to think about all of the different requirements.
We’ve added new updates to our platform to help keep users compliant with these new laws, and we are committed to consistently updating our platform to meet changing requirements in the future. To learn more about this compliance update, visit our Help Center or Contact us.
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