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Martha Buyer
Martha Buyer is an attorney whose practice is limited to the practice of telecommunications law. In this capacity, she has...
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Martha Buyer | August 27, 2012 |

 
   

Really?? Taking the TCPA to the Extreme

Really?? Taking the TCPA to the Extreme The Telephone Consumer Protection Act is meant to curb unwanted calls and texts. But is litigation always the best way to deal with potential noncompliance?

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act is meant to curb unwanted calls and texts. But is litigation always the best way to deal with potential noncompliance?

At this risk of sounding overly cynical and snarky, I think some people have too much time (and money) on their hands. What prompted my reaction is that within the past few weeks, a California hockey fan who was annoyed by the frequency of text messages he received from the Pittsburgh Penguins Mobile Media Club, filed a class action lawsuit claiming that the Penguins violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) by sending more calls (for these purposes the word "calls" includes text messages) to his mobile phone than were agreed upon. And yes, the plaintiff did sign up to receive the service, which was supposed to send out a maximum of 3 text messages per week.

Does this guy's attorney really have nothing better to do? Does he/she really think that this is the way to make it big? Really?

While the plaintiff officially "signed up" for this service, he's upset because he received more than 3 messages a week (he received as many as 4 or 5 per week), and the terms of the offer that he accepted indicated that he would receive a maximum of 3 per week. The plaintiff is looking for an injunction, statutory damages and attorneys' fees. Again, really? Is this worth the trouble and cost?

One positive about the situation is that at least the TCPA is being taken seriously--particularly its provision that prohibits unsolicited text messages, which the plaintiff claims that he received. Perhaps the Pittsburgh Penguins Mobile Media Club should have chosen its words more carefully when it indicated that the plaintiff would receive "no more than 3 messages per week." The takeaway is that marketers who use text services should first choose their words with extreme care in the offers made to consumers. Second, they should be sure that the service actually provided complies with the offer as written. But litigation???

Really?





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