A lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida involving allegations of widespread text messaging-related violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) was recently settled. Because of the nature and commonality of the marketing practices at issue, this TCPA litigation ultimately settled on a class-wide basis.

What were the allegations at issue in the TCPA litigation?

This TCPA litigation was brought against a company and its owner that provided text message-based marketing services to auto dealerships. The plaintiff alleged that the marketing company acquired his phone number by scraping unrelated Craigslist advertisements and that it subsequently used the acquired number to send him unsolicited text message advertisements without his prior express written consent. Furthermore, this practice of scraping Craigslist advertisements to generate phone number leads was alleged to be extensive and systematic. Because of how rampant and common this lead generation technique was, coupled with the absence of any effort to obtain prior express written consent to contact prospective consumers, a class was ultimately certified by the Court. Faced with the realistic possibility of a crippling class action judgment, the marketing company and its owner have agreed to settle the class allegations, though the terms of the settlement have not yet been presented to the Court for approval.

Avoid TCPA Litigation

We have written extensively about the increased interest, from class action attorneys and regulators alike, in the exploding text message marketing space. After years of litigation, because of the defendants’ failure to ensure that prospective text message recipients had provided valid consent prior to being contacted, this TCPA litigation will settle on a class-wide basis for an amount that should be quite considerable. Given the foregoing, this case should serve to reinforce the notion that, in today’s regulatory environment, it is imperative to have telemarketing practices and procedures examined by experienced counsel in order to avoid potentially disastrous consequences.