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Papa John's faces $250 million class-action lawsuit for text spam

By JohnThomas Didymus     Nov 14, 2012 in Business
Papa John's faces a $250 million class-action for sending its customers unsolicited text messages. The customers joined in a class-action allege that in 2010, Papa John's franchises sent them a total of 500,000 text spam that advertised pizza deals.
CNN Money reports that court documents say customers complained that they were getting 15 to 16 texts a day. They complained that some of the texts were sent in the middle of the night. Erin Chutich, one of the plaintiffs in the case, said: “After I ordered from Papa John’s, my telephone started beeping with text messages advertising pizza specials. Papa John’s never asked permission to send me text message advertisements.”
According to CNN Money, Papa John's franchises sent the messages through a service called OnTime4U. The service is also a defendant in the class-action.
Papa John's reportedly stopped using the OnTim4U service after the action was first brought in April 2010. The pizza chain advised its corporate stores and franchises that sending unsolicited messages to cellphones could be illegal.
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991, prohibits companies from sending text advertisements without the recipients' consent.
But Caroline Oyler, head of legal affairs of the pizza chain, said Papa John's corporate text messaging program is not subject to the lawsuit as the texts in question were sent by "third-party vendors and a small number of franchises."
CNN Money reports the plaintiffs are claiming $500 per text but they could be awarded up to $1,500 per text if a jury decides that Papa John's willfully violated the law.
According to Donald Heyrich, the attorney representing the plaintiffs, "We have noticed text message spam is increasing in part because advertisers see it as a great way to get their material directly into the hands of customers. We hope this case keeps text message spam out of cellphones.”
The Inquisitr reports Heyrich said: "Many customers complained to Papa John's that they wanted the text messages to stop, and yet thousands of spam text messages were sent week after week. This should be a wakeup call to advertisers. Consumers do not want spam on their cell phones. If you do not have permission from your customers, do not send them text messages. It's as simple as that."
Heyrich said the lawsuit could lead to the largest damages award ever under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
Oyler, however, argued that there was "no basis" for the Plaintiffs' claim of $250 million in the lawsuit.
According to CNN, the U.S. District Court Judge John Coughenour, in Seattle, certified the class action on Nov. 9, but Papa John’s plans to appeal the ruling.
Oyler said.“We don’t agree with it and will continue to aggressively defend it. We’ll continue to litigate the case and defend the lawsuit and move to have it dismissed.”
CNN Money reports that Papa John's shares have fallen by nearly 2% since the class-action was certified on November 9.
More about Papa john, $250 million lawsuit, Spam, text spam
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