[telecom] Papa John's faces class-action suit for alleged barrage of spam texts

Papa John's faces class-action suit for alleged barrage of spam texts

Plaintiffs say pizza chain hired company to serve thousands of unwanted texts.

by Megan Geuss Nov 13 2012 Ars Technica

A judge from the Western District of Washington Seattle Court approved a class action suit against Papa John's on Friday. The plaintiffs, three people from Washington State, are standing in for thousands of customers claiming that Papa John's and a marketing firm called OnTime4U worked together to send spam texts to customers who hadn't given their consent to be texted with marketing information, violating the US Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991.

The Seattle law firm Heyrich Kalish McGuigan is representing the plaintiffs. It claims Papa John's customers received 500,000 unwanted text messages nationally, and the firm also claims this could cost Papa John's $500 per text message (a bill that would tally up to $250 million). While such a large payout is highly unlikely, a class-action payout may be in the future for the pizza chain.

The order granting a motion for class action says Papa John's LLC worked with OnTime4U and encouraged their individual franchisees to cooperate with the company. OnTime4U then solicited the franchisees for lists of their customers' phone numbers (which most pizza-delivery stores keep for speedy phone-orders). OnTime4U then removed the land-line numbers, and texted promotional messages to the rest.


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***** Moderator's Note *****

When clerks at the supermarket ask for my phone number, I always lie. They don't want to call me: they want to sell my buying habits, and I resent it.

I'm going to write a book about how our privacy was stolen, one molecule at a time.

Bill Horne Moderator

Moderators Note Copyright (C) 2012 E.W. Horne. All Rights Reserved.

Reply to
Monty Solomon
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Per Moderator's Note:

I tell them straight-up: I don't want to give them a phone number.

My fallback position in the event that somebody digs their heels in ("...well, the system needs a phone number...." or "Nobody will call unless there is a problem... we just need the number...") is the phone number of my congressman, who has been spamming me mercilessly ever since I supplied an email address to the local civic association.

Come to think of it.... maybe I just ought to give out that number no matter what..... -)

Reply to
Pete Cresswell

I often offer up my local area's 555-1212 number :-) . Cheers, -- tlvp

Reply to

(301) 688-5849

Mr. Google will tell you who that is.

A similar useful zipcode for nosy surveys is 20505....

Reply to
David Lesher

My response is "unlisted"


Reply to

Nov 13, 10:19 pm

I simply say "it's unlisted". If I absolutely positively have to give it to someone, I give the former pay phone down the street.

Unfortunately, businesses make it harder and harder not to give in to their intrusive questioning. I use a supermarket card because without their prices are much higher. Likewise with the drugstore.

Some banks now charge a steep monthly fee to send out a printed statement, so one is forced to give them an email address for e- statements. One might suggest to switch banks. But, it's hard to switch banks because (1) there are so fewer banks thanks to mergers and failures, and (2) all the banks end up doing the same thing so there's no gain in switching.

A such book is sorely needed.

But it's a tough issue. Some businesses are now advertising gross privacy invasions in the name of customer service. For instance, one retail chain offers to track all of a customer's purchases to aid in future buying. A cable company offers a home security system including CCTV to monitor your kids and pets.

We consumers love the convenience of e-commerce--buying things from web pages where they already have our credit card, email, and shipping address on file. We like using our credit cards for everything these days, even modest purchases.

We are worried about our personal security and submit to public safety registration requirements.

We need to have our job, so we are forced to submit to our employers' background checks, review of our outside lives, and scrutiny of our activities while on the job by CCTV, badge readers, and other monitoring.

Reply to

I'm lucky: around here, if I tell the clerk I forgot my "loyalty" card, they offer to use a store card instead. I don't know if Massachusetts has a law that mandates it, but it's nice to be able to get the discounts while my card is hanging on the keychain that's keeping my wife warm in the parking lot.

Not here. I don't know if that's a law either, but I'd close my account if they tried it.

Yes, but by the time it's written, the black helicopters will have taken me away.

E-commerce is always a double-edged sword. It's very hard to do it without accumulating masses of data, and once that data /is/ available, the merchants would be fools not to use it. This is nothing new: Sears, Roebuck & Co. always favored customers with high account totals, even in the days of manual paperwork when the Sears catalog was the only mail-order market around.

The problem, in a nutshell, is that telephone numbers are a reliable, easy-to-remember, and seldom changed index into our buying habits and, therefore, our personal lives. /Everyone/ balks at handing over their SSN or other national identity number, but phone numbers, which are a reliable way to retrieve an SSN, don't have the same "fear factor".

As fate would have it, I've just run out of my "old" checks, and have opened a new box that have my Google Voice phone number on them. It will be interesting to see if the supermarket sells the "new" number to SMS marketing companies, and if they try to send me text ads.

On balance, submitting to the requirements of a drivers license exam is a minor inconvenience compared to the peace of mind that comes from knowing that other drivers had to do it as well. Fishing licenses, not so much. Gun licenses, at least in my neighborhood, require an exhaustive screening process, but that's OK as well: nobody ever attacked a crowd with a fishing rod.

Some employers demand that applicants hand over their FacePage IDs and passwords for background checks. Some applicants do it. /I/ tell them that I don't have a FaceTube account, and I'm old enough that they believe it, although I /have/ had to answer questions about a guy named "Bill Horne" who posts regularly in some online forums about recreational vehicles: nice guy, I'd bet, but it's scary to know that twenty-something HR clerks don't understand that I'm not him.

BTW, I don't think I'm "forced" to submit to a potential employer's background check: I'm not forced to eat, either; it's just a habit I have.


Reply to
Bill Horne

Fortunately, many of these stores are set up to let you use an "alternate ID" via the keypad, typically by punching in your phone number.

And there's no need, of course, that it be "your" phone number.

A little bit of research will uncover plenty of usable accounts/phone numbers for many of these places. Or you might have a friend or relative willing to let you, so to speak, "share" theirs.

Generally there's no geographic restriction, so while you're shopping in DC, the phone number might be in LA.

In some of these systems there's a bit of an advantage to the real account holder as there might be a one percent or so kickback at the end of the year. Of course, you won't be getting it. But they will.

Reply to
danny burstein

Of course, these days you might live in DC and have an 818 number for your primary phone, because that's where you lived in 2005; viz., .


Reply to
Garrett Wollman

The number most likely to be in any given system is Jenny's number: 867-5309.

Reply to

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