Dining discount site Restaurant.com, tax preparation company Jackson Hewitt, and credit card giant American Express are facing a federal lawsuit over spammy text messages. Phil Hollingsworth of Marengo, Ill., has filed a class action suit against the three companies in the United States District Court for the Northern Division of Illinois, reports Loop North News. Hollingsworth alleges the three are responsible for a slew of unwanted text messages containing advertisements and promotions.
The offending messages made for a synergistic cross-promotion of the three businesses, offering Hollingsworth Restaurant.com discounts if he used Jackson Hewitt to file his income tax return and accepted his refund on an American Express card. Hollingsworth says he followed the supposed procedures meant to stop the messages, but they kept coming. Because they weren't related to an emergency, Hollingsworth claims the messages were in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
"In April 2012, the Pew Research Center found that 69 percent of texters reported receiving unwanted spam text messages, while 25 percent reported receiving spam texts weekly," reads the initial court filing. Hollingsworth says he never provided the companies with his cell phone number nor his "prior express consent to call his cell phone numbers with automated text messages."
The lawsuit was filed with class action status because "tens of thousands, if not more" people may have been affected by the messages. Hollingsworth is seeking a hefty penalty should the defendants be found guilty: damages between $500 and $1,500 for "each and every call" in violation of the TCPA. Loop North News notes "claims could total millions of dollars."
Restaurant.com previously faced a lawsuit filed by a New Jersey couple over the fine print on the company's gift cards. That suit initially was dismissed, but the dismissal was reversed upon appeal and the case is ongoing.
The next step in Hollingsworth's case is a status hearing on April 28. See the initial court filing below.
This story has been updated to clarify the previous Restaurants.com lawsuit is still ongoing.