Pittsburgh Penguins Fan Sues Team For Texting Him Too Frequently

A fan of the Pittsburgh Penguins NHL team is suing the owners for the hockey franchise — not for the team’s embarrassing loss at the hands of the infinitely superior Philadelphia Flyers, but because he got more than he bargained for when he signed up for text alerts from the team.

The lawsuit, brought last week in the U.S. District Court in California’s Central District, says that the Penguins violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act by sending more text messages than agreed to in the terms and conditions.

According to the complaint, when the plaintiff signed up for the text alerts — intended to provide information like player trades, breaking news, and special team-related offers — the agreement on the Penguins website states the team will send a maximum of three texts per week.

However, the plaintiff alleges that in the first week, he received at least five texts from the team. The next week, it was four.

From the complaint:

By exceeding the authorized limits on weekly text message calls made to Plaintiff… Defendant has caused Plaintiff and the other members of the Class actual harm, not only because they were subjected to the aggravation that necessarily accompanies the invasion of privacy caused by unsolicited text message calls, but also because consumers frequently have to pay their cell phone service providers for the receipt of such wireless calls.

The suit [via CourthouseNews], which seeks class-action status, is asking the court for an injunction that would prevent the team from texting beyond the 3/week limit. It’s also asking for unspecified damages.

Is this is a case of a consumer holding a company accountable or is it a rush to litigate? We’ll leave it up to the Consumerist hive mind to decide:


Edit Your Comment

  1. jayphat says:

    On what plain of reality do “infinitely superior” and “Pittsburgh Penguins” show up in the same sentence?

    • SerenityDan says:

      When you are comparing them to a team that whooped em obviously

    • wwwww says:

      Let me make that sentence for you…

      is “infinitely superior” than Pittsburgh Penguins. There you go!

      Disclaimer: Just an example sentence. Whether or not Pittsburgh Penguins is really superior or not is not related to this discussion. By reading this sentence you agree to give up all rights to sue the creator of this sentence.

      [X] – Agree [ ] – Disagree

  2. FatLynn says:

    I would love to know what the “unspecified damages” are.

    • Blueskylaw says:

      Actual damages are 40 cents per week for the extra unwanted texts and $750,000
      for the trial lawyers who make all our lives that much more safer and comfortable.

      • cyberpenguin says:

        You missed the last two zeroes:

        “$75,000,000 for the trial lawyers who make all our lives that much more safer and comfortable.”

        Those extra two zeroes yield much more comfort and safety. It’s all about safety.

        Remember, safety and some other unspecified stuff are priceless. The Penguins should beg them to double the number and just make our society that much safer.

        • Bruce W says:

          While you are at it why not add two more zeros-


          Certainly that is a good number for those extra texts!!!!

      • JoeTheDragon says:

        more like $0.25 a text it is a joke you have to pay for incomeing texts.

  3. do-it-myself says:

    Damages? It’s not even worth the 20 cents because it’s possible this person has unlimited texts…isn’t this the norm now? I was expecting this article to define excessive texts as 3-4 per DAY not, week. It seems like they are just looking for trouble. If you don’t like getting texts from a company you knowingly signed up for. OPT OUT. I would only see a problem if you did and the texts continued.

    • josephbloseph says:

      I still have per-text billing. With that in mind, I don’t sign up for text alerts for anything, but per-text billing is still a thing

      • do-it-myself says:

        Signing up for a small text plan — say 100 texts per month, may still be cheaper than paying per incidental text. But it depends on your carrier.

  4. Rashomon says:

    I guess unsubscribing to the texts is not as fun as wasting time and money in our legal system?

  5. JennQPublic says:

    I voted yes, but to clarify, I don’t think this deserves a million-dollar payout. I just think that businesses should be held accountable when they deceive and annoy people, and the only way to do that is to hit them in their wallets.

  6. jrwn says:

    I would like to know in their agreement how many number per week they said they would send out.

    • MrMagoo is usually sarcastic says:

      It’s buried in the third paragraph, towards the end of the last sentence: “the agreement on the Penguins website states the team will send a maximum of three texts per week.”

  7. scurvycapn says:

    Sure, it is a bit silly, but I think this is less about money and more “it’s the principle of the thing” type deals. If he bought season tickets and decided to just walk right through the gates next year because “hey, one or two more, what’s the difference?” do you think the Penguins would let him? Of course not. Organizations/corporations/whatever need to know that they need to abide by the rules that they write up as well.

    • StarKillerX says:

      Yeah because an extra text is exactly the same as walking into a game you don’t have tickets for.

      It’s even worse then you think, since if these texts were peanuts and the person recieving them was allergic they could have been fatal!

  8. Blueskylaw says:

    It seems that this Pittsburgh Penguins fan just graduated from law school
    and was told to go for the easy cases first to help build up his ego.

  9. BugBlatterBeast says:

    I would hope he attempted to unsubscribe from texts before suing. I ended up getting semi-weekly texts from a local strip-club a couple years back. (No, I’m not sure how I got on their list.) They were using an online texting service that made it impossible to unsubscribe from them. After my wireless carrier told me it wasn’t able to block them due to their varying texting address, I had to resort to calling the club. After leaving 3 requests on their business’s phone voicemail to be removed, I resorted to threatening a lawsuit over 2 more voicemail messages.

    It took 3 months to get off their list and NEVER received a confirmation phone call from them stating I was off their texting list.

    Companies need to be held accountable for using a service that potentially cost recipients money.

    • StarKillerX says:

      But would that include a mailing list you signed up for that sent 4 or 5 texts a week as opposed to 3?

      • BugBlatterBeast says:

        If it was difficult to stop the service, yes.

        • StarKillerX says:

          But is it? But we may never know since no where in the complaint does it say that he tried to stop them and that they wouldn’t stop but instead simply that he’s got a couple more messages a week then he signed up for.

    • Stickdude says:

      (No, I’m not sure how I got on their list.)

      And your wife actually bought that line??

  10. nbs2 says:

    If the Flyers were infinitely superior, wouldn’t they be playing this week while Brodeur contemplated retirement?

    (says the guy whose team got swept by the Kings)

  11. JJFIII says:

    Define a week? Were they sent Tuesday through Monday? Aggravation is not a cause of action. If that were the case, I could sue the construction company that is repaving every street I seem to drive on.
    If he would like to be reimbursed for the ACTUAL damages, then he can file the suit for the $.60 (and that is generous) that he may be out due to over sending. He would also be required BY LAW, to mitigate damages. Meaning, he would need to stop causing the defendant to incur extra charges. This of course would mean he would need to opt out.

  12. JJFIII says:

    Actually, I just read the terms of the service. The maximum of three texts per week are clearly related to THIS statement:
    By subscribing, you consent to receiving, from time to time, further text messages from us which may include offers from us, our affiliates and partners. Available on participating carriers. Maximum of 3 messages a week.
    It does not limit the texts that can be sent in total. That would be obvious since there is no way to give the three stars of every game if they had 4 games in a week. Throw in some trades and there is no way to get the info.
    There are reasons this is a separate paragraph and part of the agreement. It is not 3 messages in total. IF on the other hand they are throwing more than three offers from affiliates, then it is a different question.

    • iesika says:

      I think this is the first time I’ve seen what I would call a reading comprehension WIN on this site.

    • That guy. says:

      Oh…so the 3 texts messages are the “further” part, beyond the regular team activity alerts, which would include offers from affiliates?

  13. jimbo831 says:

    I live in Pittsburgh and am a subscriber to the Pens text alerts. They are not overly excessive at all. You get a text after every game with the score (which is sometimes 3-4 times a week) and texts with any significant news that is going on. I also get texts before every home game to let me know about the Student Rush, but I’m not sure if that was a different subscription I made or not. Either way, what is he suing for, $0.30? What is the cost of an individual text anyway? I’m sure this moron has an unlimited plan anyway.

    If he didn’t like how often they were sending them, why not just reply STOP instead of filing a lawsuit?

  14. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    I was expecting 30 texts a week or something. But 4 texts instead of 3? That is lawsuit happy right there.

  15. Snapdragon says:

    If you’re charged $.20 (for example) per text, why would you sign up for a text alert service at all? I do (yeah, yeah; mock me if you will), and I wouldn’t.

  16. Bruce W says:

    Give me a break… one to two extra texts…. big deal…

    This is why the court system is so backlogged because of these ridiculous law suits over one to two extra text messages.

  17. miss_chevious says:

    I understand this isn’t a huge deal–oh noes! Two or three extra texts a week!–but it’s illegal. The customer agreed to X. Not X plus 2 or 3 or 15. How many more texts in violation of their own policy do the Penguins have to send for the violation to be illegal enough? 100? 1000? Long story short, the company could have avoided this by saying “maximum 5 texts per week” (and then not sending six).

  18. ferd says:

    Lawyers after a buck.

    • shufflemoomin says:

      LAWYERS after a buck? They didn’t go soliciting for this lawsuit. This asshat went to THEM. Sure, the lawyers will profit, but they’re just riding the retarded pony, they didn’t ask for it.

  19. JonBoy470 says:

    This lawsuit is a gleaming example of how screwed up our legal system is…

  20. mrvw says:

    I wish I was a judge. I would have him and his lawyer thrown in pound-me-in-the-ass prison forever. It would be a glorious 1-2 days as a judge.

  21. Weekilter says:

    He signed up for the alerts. If he didn’t want the alerts he shouldn’t have signed up. How difficult is that? If he signed up there should be a way to get off the alerts. Did he even try or was he just anxious to file a suit?

  22. xanadustc says:

    As much as this will be disagreed with, yes, hold the team accountable BECAUSE companies are being WWWWAAAAYYYYY to pushy with ads, texts, updates, etc.

    Now, I do certainly see the point to the opposition. If he did not want texts, he should not have signed up, but how many times have you had to give an email for legitimate need for a service or product and ended up on an email newsletter? Frankly, as much as I hate government regulation, I would actually be all for a law that severely financially punishes companies that send unsolicited emails.

  23. The Wyrm says:

    I’m thinking this is probably about him having a different definition of ‘week’ than the company.
    The company sends you…
    1 text on Tuesday
    2 texts on Thursday
    2 texts the next Monday
    1 text the next Wednesday
    That’s 3 texts a week, defined as ‘Monday through Sunday’ while I bet this guy is claiming ‘a week’ is ‘any seven day period.’

    The lawsuit is going to fail, because the plantiff has to prove actual harm. He’ll be laughed out of court trying to prove that ‘slight annoyance from something you asked to get and got for free’ is ‘harm.’

  24. edicius is an acquired taste says:

    He’s just doing as the Penguins do – whine until you get your way.

  25. Murph1908 says:

    The number of text he received influenced my vote. Because it was 4 and 5, barely over the limit, I chose ‘No’.

    Had he been sent considerably more texts per week, I’d have considered the other options.

  26. Dyscord says:

    Um….Opt out then. Duh. If you’re not on an unlimited text plan then chances are you’re not going to sign up for text alerts anyway.