Florida Senate - 2018                                     SB 412
       By Senator Rodriguez
       37-00378-18                                            2018412__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to consumer protection; creating s.
    3         501.172, F.S.; requiring the Department of Agriculture
    4         and Consumer Services to operate and maintain a
    5         central consumer complaint hotline; requiring the
    6         department to establish a toll-free telephone number
    7         and a web-based chat function; stating the purpose of
    8         the hotline; requiring the department to promote the
    9         hotline; specifying the information the department
   10         must provide to consumer complainants; providing an
   11         effective date.
   13  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   15         Section 1. Section 501.172, Florida Statutes, is created to
   16  read:
   17         501.172 Consumer protection hotline.—
   18         (1)CREATION.—The Department of Agriculture and Consumer
   19  Services shall operate and maintain a central consumer complaint
   20  hotline through a single statewide toll-free telephone number
   21  and via web-based chat.
   22         (2)PURPOSE.—The purpose of the consumer complaint hotline
   23  is to direct consumers to the appropriate state agency in order
   24  to address a consumer complaint regarding a licensed person
   25  conducting business in the state or regarding unlicensed
   26  activity.
   27         (3)PROMOTION.—
   28         (a)The department shall promote public awareness of the
   29  consumer complaint hotline through community-based partner
   30  organizations and public service campaigns.
   31         (b)The department shall post a link to the web-based chat
   32  window in a conspicuous part of its website.
   33         (4)OPERATION.—For consumers who contact the hotline with a
   34  complaint about a licensed person conducting business in this
   35  state or regarding unlicensed activity, the department must
   36  provide, at a minimum, the following information:
   37         (a)The proper agency to contact regarding the consumer’s
   38  particular complaint.
   39         (b)The telephone number and website for such agency.
   40         Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2018.