Not only is it annoying to get automated messages pumped into your cell phone, it happens to be against the law. The Telephone Consumer Protect Act (TCPA) sees it as personal interference and an invasion of your privacy. The act provides for a $500 fine for every third-party automated call or text made to your cell number.
A Houston law firm, Reich & Binstock, has filed a class-action suit against the retailing giant for pumping thousands of automated text advertisements out to consumers. The suit alleges that Target used a third-party company to conduct a massive advertising campaign, sending text messages to thousands of cell users across the country.
“Ad people come up with these great marketing ideas but don’t know there are laws to protect people from these kinds of invasions,” says attorney Debra Hayes from Reich & Binstock.
Many cell phone users do not have text messaging as part of their cell phone package, and as a result, have to pay extra data charges when they receive the spam advertising messages. Anyone who received one or more third-party unsolicited text advertisements, even if they have a data plan, is eligible to join the class action.
Target has so far not responded to the allegations.
“We don’t know where they are getting the phone numbers from at this point,” says Hayes. “That, along with how many text messages were actually sent, is something we will have to find out in the discovery phase of the case.”
This is the fourth case of this kind that Reich & Binstock has filed under the TCPA. “The Telephone Consumer Protection Act also applies to automated phone calls, which I just started receiving, and I can tell you are also annoying. The act is there to protect consumers against all these automated invasions into your cell phone life whether through texts or phone calls,” says Hayes.
Debra Brewer Hayes is a graduate of the South Texas College of Law and holds a BA from Cleveland State University. Her practice is focused on consumer class action, mass class action and commercial litigation. She was named to the 2007 Lawdragon’s list of top 500 plaintiffs’ lawyers in America.