How Selling Pizza Has One Company in a Hot Oven: A TCPA Story
Papa Johns is in the oven…..no, not the pizza in your oven. I mean the company, Papa Johns, finds itself in a really hot situation. Papa Johns has been sued for allegedly violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) by sending thousands of text messages to customers via a third-party text messaging service. Customers purchased pizzas and claim, without their permission, Papa Johns barraged them with text messages. Yikes!
Violators of the TCPA face liability at the rate of $500.00 per violation and possibly $1,500.00 per violation if a court determines a violation was “knowing and willful.” The TCPA applies to telephone calls, robo-calls, facsimiles, and electronic mail messages. Across the country there have been a variety of lawsuits and awards related to violations of the TCPA.
North Carolina has a telephone solicitation consumer protection statute modeled after the TCPA. The North Carolina statute, N.C.G.S. 75-100 et seq., has been hailed as one of the strongest telemarketing statutes in the country. The law requires telephone solicitors properly identify themselves at the outset of the call, provide an address or telephone number for contact purposes, and even to abruptly terminate the call if the consumer objects to the solicitation call. Other features of the North Carolina statute include a limitation on when calls can be made (from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.), specific restrictions on robo-calls (sorry to inform some of you that political candidate campaign calls are legal), and monetary penalties that can easily dwarf those allowed under the TCPA.
To reduce the chances of you being contacted by telemarketers be sure to register your home or mobile phone number(s) for the National Do Not Call Registry. If you are contacted by telemarketers make notes of the following for each call or message received: date, time, name of individual calling, name of company or organization the caller represents, and summary of information discussed in call. If you speak with a telemarketer and do not wish to receive future calls or solicitations demand the telemarketer place you on the company’s “do not contact” list and be sure to make note of the date and time when you made your demand.
If you have received unwanted text messages, faxes, phone calls, or e-mails you may be entitled to recover monetary damages under state and/or federal law. Though the damages in some cases may appear small, multiple violations could change that calculation–not to mention if other laws are violated. For a free consultation on potential violations by a telemarketer contact Attorney John O’Neal of the O’Neal Law Office.