Plaintiffs filed a class action lawsuit against Papa John’s, arguing that a text message campaign conducted by the company’s franchises violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. According to the complaint, the franchisees sent text messages to customers without their consent, in violation of the TCPA. Under the law, a plaintiff can recover between $500 to $1,500 for each message sent without consent, depending on whether the violation is willful.
As we’ve noted in previous posts, the number of lawsuits involving text message campaigns has increased dramatically in recent years. Part of the increase is because many companies aren’t paying attention to legal requirements. But the increase is also largely because class action attorneys have come to see these cases as an easy way to make money. For example, a recent case involving text messages sent by Jiffy Lube settled for $47 million. These attorneys will seize on any violation -- no matter how minor -- as an opportunity to force a settlement.
Most of the recent lawsuits could have been avoided if the text message campaigns if the campaigns had been carefully reviewed prior to launch. Sometimes, there's a tendency to try to skip that step in order to cut costs and launch quickly, but the recent string of multi-million dollar settlements demonstrates that’s a very short-sighted approach. It will cost exponentially less time and money to do things right from the start. If you're planning a new campaign, get your legal team involved early in the process.