(1) LEGISLATIVE INTENT.—
(a) The Legislature of the State of Florida recognizes that the deceptive misuse of the term “free” and words of similar meaning and intent in advertising by the unscrupulous has resulted in deception of consumers, leading them unknowingly to assume contractual obligations which were initially concealed by the deception.
(b) It is the intent of the Legislature to prevent such deception by requiring disclosure of all contingent conditions, obligations, or considerations in any form in connection with the advertising of goods or services using the term “free” or words of similar meaning and intent.
(c) It is not the intent of the Legislature to prohibit the use of gifts in legitimate promotions of trade so long as the advertising of such gifts and promotions makes full disclosure of any requirement for purchase or contractual obligations to be assumed in order to qualify for the gift.
(2) SHORT TITLE.—This act may be cited as the “Florida Free Gift Advertising Law.”
(3) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this act:
(a) “Person” includes an individual, partnership, corporation, association, or other entity doing business in the state.
(b) “Free” includes the use of terms such as “awarded,” “prize,” “absolutely without charge,” “free of charge,” and words or groups of words of similar intent which reasonably lead a person to believe that he or she may receive, or has been selected to receive, something of value, entirely or in part without a requirement of compensation in any form from the recipient.
(c) “Item” means goods, services, or any tangible or intangible thing of value and the rights therein.
(d) “Advertisement” and “advertising” includes every form of communication which offers for sale, or attempts to induce the creation of obligations in exchange for, any item or rights therein.
(4) RESTRICTIONS ON USE OF WORD “FREE.”—Any item or portion of an item unconditionally offered as “free” shall in fact be free, without obligation or requirement of consideration in any form, when accepted in writing within the time limit set forth in the advertisement or within a reasonable time, if no time limit is so set. However, any person so receiving and accepting such offer may be required to pay any necessary transportation or delivery charges directly to the United States Postal Service or other regulated public carrier.
(5) REQUIREMENTS FOR ADVERTISEMENTS.—Advertising in which items are offered as free with conditions or obligations necessary to acceptance shall include a clear and conspicuous statement of any such conditions or obligations and advertising in compliance herewith shall not be considered deceptive.
(6) VIOLATIONS.—Any violation of this section is declared to be a deceptive trade practice and unlawful.
(7) INJUNCTIONS.—The Commissioner of Agriculture or the Attorney General may bring an action for injunction to prohibit practices in violation of this law, and any such injunction shall be issued without bond. Such suit may be brought in any circuit court of this state having jurisdiction over the party or parties defendant.