Text message marketing laws exist. In fact, officials are always looking to bust spam schemes. Below, we’ll review one such promotional compliance case.
The Federal Trade Commission sued a large mobile spam ring for, essentially, breaking text message marketing laws. Apparently, the defendants unlawfully gathered information and sold it to third-party marketers.
Specifically, the case cited the Federal Trade Commission Act and the Telemarketing Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act violations. Subsequently, plaintiffs sought preliminary and permanent injunctive relief.
Officials also asked for equitable restitution on behalf of the victims.
Text Message Marketing Laws: The FTC Investigates, Then Sues
Back in 2011, FTC staffers uncovered evidence that consumers were being duped into revealing identifiable information in exchange for “free merchandise.”
The defendants allegedly used questionable mobile marketing techniques like:
- Unsolicited text messages, sent directly by the defendants and through intermediary third-parties; plus
- Phony prize notices.
Sample text messages listed in the complaint
- “You WON! Go to www.prizeconfirm.com to claim your $1000 Walmart Gift Card Now!”
- “FREE MSG: you have been chosen to test & keep the new iPad for free only today!! Go to website and enter 2244 and your zip code to claim it now!”
Second Tier Websites Collected More Information Than Users OK’d
Under the scheme, the defendants funneled participants to websites that required consumers to reveal identifiable information.
However, before claiming prizes, individuals with “winning codes” had to input their zip codes and emails. Then, after entering personal details, consumers were directed to yet another web page requiring even more personal information.
Ultimately, participants had to complete thirteen offers before claiming the “free” merchandise. And according to the FTC, the defendants shared or sold said information with robocalling marketers.