While carriers such as AT&T are moving to unlimited messaging plans, many users still have text limits, and cost-conscious users seem more prone than ever to get litigious about SMS campaigns that cost more than they expected or that they did not opt into. NBC and Fox just settled a drawn-out class action suit against games for “American Idol” and “Deal or No Deal” that pushed users to enter a sweepstakes using premium text messaging at about 99 cents a message. The suit alleged that making players pay that message fee to enter a random drawing constituted an illegal lottery.
Mobile users are also getting irate about receiving texts they didn’t opt into. A class action suit filed in August alleges that NASCAR sent a woman an unsolicited text message, thereby violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. The suit seeks what could be $5 million in damages — $1,500 for each unrequested message sent in the campaign.
As with all litigation, there’s a silly fringe. A suit brought against Twitter in May seeks damages for unpermissioned texts. Twitter lets users request a text alert when someone sends them a direct message over the service; subscribers can stop the service by replying STOP. Problem is, Twitter then sends a text confirming the stop. Hence the lawsuit. It doesn’t always pay to be nice.
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