Already facing a consumer class action for allegedly violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, Lyft was hit with its second case this year that alleges the ride-sharing company sent texts using an automated telephone dialing system without recipient consent.
Douglas O'Connor sued the company in January, claiming he received multiple texts from Lyft urging him to complete an application to be a driver, despite the fact that he did not provide consent to receive the messages.
In the new lawsuit, Jason David Bodie asserted in California federal court that Lyft sent an unsolicited text message instructing him to download the app on October 10. The defendant followed up with a second text, Bodie alleged, this time with a link to download Lyft's app in the app store.
Bodie's complaint alleged both texts were sent using an ATDS and constituted a "telephone solicitation" within the meaning of the TCPA because they were initiated for the purpose of encouraging the purchase of a good or service. He claimed he did not provide prior express consent to receive the texts and did not have an established business relationship with Lyft.
"Plaintiff was personally affected by Defendant's aforementioned conduct because Plaintiff was frustrated and distressed that Defendant interrupted Plaintiff with an unwanted solicitation text message using an ATDS," according to the complaint. "Defendant's text messages forced Plaintiff and other similarly situated class members to live without the utility of their cellular phones by occupying their cellular telephone with one or more unwanted calls, causing a nuisance and lost time."
Seeking to certify a nationwide class of "several thousands, if not more" text recipients dating back four years, the lawsuit requests damages and injunctive relief based on allegations of negligent and willful violations of the TCPA.
The TCPA has presented numerous challenges for Lyft in recent years, including a third consumer class action in Washington federal court over an advertising campaign that allowed users to send text invitations to their friends, as well as a citation from the Federal Communications Commission for unlawfully conditioning consumers' ability to use Lyft's services on their agreement to receive marketing text messages.
To read the complaint in Bodie v. Lyft, Inc., click here.
Why it matters: Lyft's experience with the TCPA demonstrates the myriad ways a company can be tripped up by the statute. From the FCC citation to consumer class actions based on text invitations, driver applications, and links to the company's app, the lawsuits and regulatory action provide a snapshot of what pitfalls might exist for marketers.