After an SMS ad campaign sent thousands of text messages to customers, even those who hadn't opted in for adverts, Papa John's pizza is now being sued for $250 million.
In 2010, Papa John's Pizza hired a mass text messaging service, OnTime4U to send advertisements to it's customers. Now, this service has earned them a $250 million class action lawsuit. Erin Chutich, one of the plaintiffs in the case, said in a statement that "Papa John's never asked permission to send me text message advertisements." Indeed, even when customers complained, the messages kept coming.
The lawsuit was certified by U.S. District Court Judge John C. Coughenour on November 9 in Seattle, Wa. If successful, it will lead to a big fine for Papa John's, according to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. This act states that it is illegal to send advertisements to anyone who hasn't opted in to receive that information. The lawsuit requests $500 worth of damages for each sent text message. The lawsuit is also claiming that, in total, 500,000 messages have been sent.
Judge John C. Coughenour
Papa John's has stated that it acted within the extent of the law, since it was not them, but a third party vendor, who sent the messages. Personally, this seems like a very weak defense, but Papa John's is nevertheless moving to appeal the certification given by Judge Coughenour.