Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Payless Shoesource For Text Message Spamming

Peter, who wrote in last month to complain about being text-spammed by Payless Shoesource on his phone, wasn’t the only customer they annoyed. A man in California has filed a class action lawsuit against the shoe company and Voice & Mobile Broadcast Corporation, which is the marketing company it hired to run the campaign.

The plaintiff, Mohammad Kazemi, says he never authorized Payless to contact him via text message, but that at least 3 times between September 2008 and 2009 he received promotions from them on his phone.

From the SF Weekly:

Not only is this a pain in the ass, says Kazemi, a San Jose resident, but it’s costing people money. Also, it forced Kazemi to read junk like this (repeatedly):

Psst … Payless Insider, Ur the 1st to know BOGO starts today, 9/29! bUY 1get 1/2 off EVERYTHING 866 746 5923 or END3 to Opt-Out Txt fees apply Not @ Shopko

Complaint for damages and injunctive relief (pdf) [Courthouse News via SF Weekly] (Thanks to Sarah!)

“Customer Gets Payless To Compensate Him For Text Message Spam”
(Photo: crschmidt)


Edit Your Comment

  1. vitajex says:

    I didn’t know Payless sold V1agra…

  2. lehrdude says:

    This guy will get his $0.75 back (assuming he didn’t already have an unlimited plan) and the lawyers for both sides will make a killing!

    • zandar says:

      @lehrdude: One wonders what would have happened if he’d only texted END3 to 866-746-5923… perhaps saved everyone a lot of money and time.

      (assuming it really does opt you out, no guarantee of that of course..)

  3. MeOhMy says:

    Maybe they can also get an injunction to prevent them from using the term BOGO spuriously! BOGO has an implied “Free” on the end of it. If we allow BOGO to mean anything else, then we will go down a slippery slope that starts with BOGO 50% off and ends with BOGO for double the regular price and everyone just saying “Come to the BOGO sale!”

    Fight the BOGO power!

  4. dreams305 says:

    Wait, what?

    When I signed up for Payless insider they TOLD me I would be getting texts. I even got a little card with it telling me about it.

    I wish I didn’t throw it away.

  5. Mary says:

    I used to get those texts, but I specifically signed up for them because I wanted to buy some shoes and wanted to get a coupon code.

    I unsubscribed after I redeemed the first coupon code because I didn’t need shoes anymore. They never bothered me again.

    So he didn’t see the “send a text here to stop” thing at the bottom, or did it not work?

  6. madrigal says:

    This happened to me! They asked for my phone number at checkout, I gave it to them, and I got a text message a few days later. I had to unsubscribe from their webpage. I don’t get free texts, and this really was unnecessary. The next time I shopped there, they asked again for my number, and I asked why this time. The cashier told me it was so I could get coupons and stuff. She almost refused to ring up the shoes I was planning on buying until I explained to her that I don’t get text messages. This turned into a 5 minute back and forth “fight” over it.

    • TheSpatulaOfLove says:


      I’m getting more creative about this request, as it seems everyone wants my info to check out. Ok, fine.

      Here’s my phone number: 202-456-1111

      That’s the comments number to the Whitehouse.

  7. subtlefrog says:

    Maybe we find a way to use this to get my boyfriend off the random strip club text spam list he’s on. He’s never been there (I’m not the kind of GF who would care at all if he went, so I believe him), but his phone number is often confused – many of the calls he gets are wrong numbers. So I’m guessing there is a connection.

    It’s to the point where he doesn’t actually even look at text messages, assuming they are all spam, because the send so many.

  8. Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

    I actually had to have my text service terminated for a while because the spamming got so out of hand. I was receiving five to ten unwanted texts a day and nothing I did got them to quit. Verizon CS was unable to help, and they eventually had to just turn it off for a month.

    I hope this lawsuit will send a message to these pests.

  9. Skipweasel says:

    I don’t understand this – do you get billed for receiving texts and calls in the US? If so, why do you stand for it? It seems so open to abuse.

    • Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

      @Skipweasel: There are different plans depending on the carrier, but the short answer is “yes”, some folks are charged for every text message they receive. And “yes” it is open to abuse for obvious reasons. I had 250 free texts per month. Every text sent or received above that cost me 10 cents. That can add up to some serious money over a one month span.

  10. Panamapeter says:

    I don’t understand either, why put up with this backwards billing system. Make the call pay for the call. Hello operator, I would like to make a collect call. Don’t tell them, just make them pay.

  11. Red Cat Linux says:

    Although, I always refuse to give retailers my phone number (unless there is some warranty support involved) this is not exactly what I had in mind to avoid.

    I just hated that companies would invent some reason or method to use that was not explicitly forbidden and rent, lease, sell, or otherwise allow some telemarketing arm of somebody’s ‘corporate partners’ to ring me up on the basis of a pre-existing relationship.

    If I got texted, I would probably just go immediately to Defcon 1 and start howling at customer service over the phone.

    I really hate spam.

  12. mobilegirl10 says:

    I appreciate all the comments. I work in the mobile marketing industry. It’s a period of growth and acquisition. Lots of companies out there doing it the right and wrong way. We are governed by the Mobile Marketing Association. If you recieve a spam, or unsolicited texts, the company is not following the double opt in process and there are huge consequences to pay. Just wanted to inform you (don’t know about the Payless situation) for the next time someone asks for your mobile number to send coupons and offers. You MUST double opt in for it to be legit! For more info on mobile marketing: or you can google the Mobile Marketeing Association for the ‘rules’ and ‘guidelines’.