What’s the best way to get to you? Is it through that chunk of metal, plastic and wires that’s never far from you? Yes, text messages are a great, quick way to reach someone, but Papa John’s is finding out it’s not so simple as just blasting your customers with mass advertising texts. In fact, it’s mighty illegal, and could cost the chain $250 million as the result of a new class action lawsuit.
The plaintiffs involved claim Papa John’s sent out 500,000 total unwanted messages in 2010, spammy texts offering deals for pizza that were sometimes allegedly arriving in strings of 15 in a row in the middle of the night, reports CNNMoney.
“After I ordered from Papa John’s, my telephone started beeping with text messages advertising pizza specials,” one of the plaintiffs, said in a statement. “Papa John’s never asked permission to send me text message advertisements.”
Papa John’s franchises sent out the texts using a service called OnTime4U, also a defendant in the case. The pizza company says it’s off the hook because after it was sued over the texts in April 2010, it cut off involvement with OnTime4U as Papa John’s told its franchises that sending spam texts “is most likely illegal.”
Oh, and it is: Under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 it’s against the law for companies to send ads without a consumer first opting into the service.
The plaintiffs in the class action suit are seeking $500 per text they received, but if a jury finds that Papa John’s broke the law on purpose, it could be a whole lot more.
“We don’t agree with it and will continue to aggressively defend it,” said a spokeswoman for Papa John’s. “We’ll continue to litigate the case and defend the lawsuit and move to have it dismissed.”
Papa John’s faces $250 million spam lawsuit [CNNMoney]