November 15, 2012
Papa John’s is fighting a $250 million class-action lawsuit for sending customers text messages without their consent, offering deals for pizza. As CNN MONEY reports, plaintiffs allege that franchises in the popular chain sent customers half a million unwanted messages in early 2010. Some customers said they were getting 15 or 16 texts in a row, even during the middle of the night, according to attorney Donald Heyrich.
“After I ordered from Papa John’s, my telephone started beeping with text messages advertising pizza specials,” one of the plaintiffs is quoted as saying in a statement. “Papa John’s never asked permission to send me text message advertisements.” The franchises reportedly sent the ads through a mass text-messaging service called OnTime4U, which is also a defendant in the case.
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 prohibits companies from sending advertisements via text message without a consumer first opting into the service, CNN MONEY reports. Plaintiffs could be awarded up to $1,500 for each message if a jury rules that Papa John’s willfully broke the law. The company says it does not agree with the lawsuit and will fight it aggressively. Caroline Oyler, head of legal affairs for Papa John’s, is quoted saying “We’ll continue to litigate the case and defend the lawsuit and move to have it dismissed.” — Greg Beaubien