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Cellphones Spam

Papa John's Sued For Unwanted Pizza-Related Texts 418

Posted by samzenpus
from the spam-spam-spam-pizza-spam dept.
jfruh writes "Nationwide pizza chain Papa John's is finding itself on the receiving end of a $250 million text spam lawsuit. From the article: 'Seattle law firm Heyrich Kalish McGuigan, representing three Papa John's customers, alleged that the pizza delivery service has sent 500,000 unwanted text messages to customers. If the court finds that Papa John's violated the U.S. Telephone Consumer Protection Act, the pizza maker could have to pay damages of $500 per text message, or US$250 million, one of the largest damage awards under the 1991 law, the law firm said. "Many customers complained to Papa John's that they wanted the text messages to stop, and yet thousands of spam text messages were sent week after week," Donald Heyrich, attorney for the plaintiffs said in a statement. "This should be a wake-up call to advertisers. Consumers do not want spam on their cell phones."'
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Papa John's Sued For Unwanted Pizza-Related Texts

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  • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @06:35AM (#41989925)

    to just have pirated 3 movies and be done with it.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Quakeulf (2650167)
      If they really want to get rid of so much money so quickly they could just fund someone's Kickstarter, or give it to me!
  • This is wrong. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RudyValencia (728937) <rudyvalencia@gmail.com> on Thursday November 15, 2012 @06:40AM (#41989935) Homepage
    Companies should honor requests for people to be able to opt out of their text messaging programs. I used to work in a call center supporting a major cellular carrier and their devices. The most common problem people called about was text messages they did not want and needed help in stopping. All we could do was educate the customer on how to opt out of the text messaging spam. This was one year ago. I left and never looked back.
    • The law says... (Score:5, Informative)

      by iYk6 (1425255) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @06:51AM (#41989987)

      The law says that you aren't allowed to spam cell phones with commercial advertisements. No opt out necessary.

      • Re:The law says... (Score:4, Informative)

        by houghi (78078) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @07:13AM (#41990081)

        In Belgium this is different. We can (and do) send commercial offers to our customers. Two things:
        1) We honor the opt-out
        2) The customer never has to pay when receiving messages (unless he is in another country and roaming is on)

        • Re:The law says... (Score:4, Interesting)

          by franciscohs (1003004) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @09:40AM (#41990779)

          So how do you know if the customer is in another country?

          Last time I travelled I paid more for text and call spam than what I spent myself with legitimate texts and calls (which were very few, not that I got hundreds of spam messages, but still).

          • Re:The law says... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @12:49PM (#41992699)

            So how do you know if the customer is in another country?

            They don't know and they don't care. Why is it the Belgian government's problem that US carriers have stupid "receiver pays" billing policies? Belgium can't fix an American problem.

            • US carriers have stupid "receiver pays" billing policies? Belgium can't fix an American problem.

              It's worse than that - both sender and receiver pay. That is why I went into my AT&T account on-line and just flat out disabled texting.

              If it was sender pays, I might have kept it on, and may have even eventually used it.

              It's bad enough to charge for sending, let alone also charging for receiving given that the SMS/Text messages are entirely carried within the extra unused bytes of the already existing Control Messages on the network. It's pure profit - well, nearly so (e.g. 99% profit at worse).

        • by GNious (953874)

          How to opt out of the daily calls from peoplethat only speaks french and wants to sell wine/cheese/kitchens/furniture/other-crap ?

          THOSE are the ones that are driving me mad, and no, they don't honor anything.

      • Re:The law says... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 15, 2012 @07:14AM (#41990083)

        But of course there's a loop hole... one used by a company during this past election.

        You don't spam the phone by sending text messages... you spam the phone by sending "emails" to
        @

        Such as 8145553345@vtext.com or whatever Verizon's service is. The company in Virginia that was doing this hasn't gone to trial yet but many see it as "breaking the spirit of the law but not actually the law its self".

        • by kbdd (823155) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @08:20AM (#41990313) Homepage

          You don't spam the phone by sending text messages... you spam the phone by sending "emails" to @

          I would like to hear what they tell the judge when he asks where did they think the messages would end up if not on a cell phone as a text message?

        • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 15, 2012 @09:13AM (#41990593)

          Actually, the FCC has a currently open comment period on how to address automated system for sending spam texts to cell phones. See http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7022037251

          With this Public Notice, we seek comment on the petition for an expedited clarification and
          declaratory ruling filed by Revolution Messaging, LLC.1 Revolution Messaging asks the Commission to
          clarify that the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)2 and the Commission’s related rules3 apply
          to users of Internet-to-phone text messaging technology and similar technologies involving the storage
          and automatic dialing of wireless telephone numbers.4 Revolution Messaging states that such a ruling
          would make clear that Internet-to-phone text messaging technology is a type of “automatic telephone
          dialing system” under the Commission’s rules and is therefore subject to the prohibitions in the TCPA
          and the Commission’s related rules.

          Anyone can file comments urging the FCC to make clear that such systems should be considered a type of “automatic telephone dialing system” under the Commission’s rules.

          Read the full petition here: http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7022037252

          File comments on the FCC ECFS system, the docket number to use is "02-278". http://http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/upload/

          And although the deadline is close, the FCC is generally fairly liberal in allowing and considering late-filed comments.

          • It's just an attempt at denying culpability at what obvious is a scam to profit from the extremely perverse practice of charging for received text messages you have in the US ... if you're going to file comment do include the fact that Verizon is profiting from spam and that is a big reason why they set up the service in the first place.

            • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

              by Anonymous Coward

              I disagree. I have filed comments on a number of things the FCC solicited public comments on. More so than many other government agencies, the FCC actually reads them and considers them. I'm nobody special, but they cited comments I made in their actual final rulings in two instances. Comments files on these things clearly do have an impact --- or at least have in the past.

        • If you pay somebody else to carry out a crime or civil offence on your behalf you're also guilty.
      • There are things like that I wish are the same in all countries. In France for instance, you may receive spam mail just because the site is buggy. Out of laxity, some sites do deal with unsubscribe and all, but it's so buggy it doesn't work well - it's not deliberate, people just don't care. Having mil$ to pay would certainly help the said sites to improve their IT/programming.
    • Re:This is wrong. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Joce640k (829181) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @08:01AM (#41990249) Homepage

      Companies should honor requests for people to be able to opt out

      No, they should all be "op-in"...

      (...otherwise they just set up a new company every week and we have to "opt-out" all over again)

    • Bullshit. The law is right on, for once (if a little toothless, like most good laws).

      You want to send people your shit, you get them to Opt-IN. Not out.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 15, 2012 @06:40AM (#41989939)

    Enjoy your justice - American sytle.

  • Papa John (Score:4, Informative)

    by nospam007 (722110) * on Thursday November 15, 2012 @06:52AM (#41989991)

    Just as info for those who don't know these morons.

    "Before the election Papa John’s CEO John Schnatter, a big Romney supporter, was one of the highest profile CEOs threatening layoffs and pizza price hikes (god forbid!) if Obama won. He doubled down after the election, like the Vegas man saying he’d start making layoffs and reducing hours at Papa John’s locations rather than having to provide healthcare for people working more than 30 hours per week."

    http://www.deathandtaxesmag.com/190955/idiots-line-up-to-thank-papa-johns-for-screwing-them-out-of-healthcare/ [deathandtaxesmag.com]

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      did not know that and now that I do, they are on my do-not-buy list.

      in my area, they had semi-ok pizza but now that I know the ceo is like that chick-fil-a guy, I want no more part of them.

      • Because he is a republican?

        The difference between Papa-Johns CEO the the Chick-fil-a CEO is former is against a policy, and the later is against a group of people.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      So, you are saying this lawsuit is merely payback for his opposition to Obama?
    • by kenh (9056)

      The truth is that Papa John's franchisees will likely cut hours to avoid Obamacare tax/penalty, not corp parent, and the comment was a prediction, not a promise.

      • The truth is that Papa John's franchisees will likely cut hours to avoid Obamacare tax/penalty, not corp parent, and the comment was a prediction, not a promise.

        <sarcasm>Yes, but we must show our support for the workers who have had their hours slashed by not spending our money with their employer. Once they lose enough money and go out of business, they will realize that they shouldn't have cut those hours!</sarcasm>

      • by CastrTroy (595695)
        Yeah, it would be much easier for them to just hire twice as many 20 hour a week employees instead of paying for the healthcare. Businesses do this stuff all the time. My brother was at a unionized retail store and he was "temporary part time" for years so that he wouldn't be in the union, and they could pay him half of the other guys. After that he was "permanent part time" which was in the union, so he go a little higher wage, but no benefits still. After about 7 years he was classified as "permanent fu
    • by Joce640k (829181)

      "...doubled down"?

      Is that the latest trendy phrase over there?

      Scott Adams [dilbert.com] mentioned it today, I thought he was exaggerating. Apparently not.

    • by MysteriousPreacher (702266) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @08:54AM (#41990515) Journal

      Because it's a job creator taking a brave stand against Comrade Obama. A job creator, cutting jobs and pay of already poorly paid employees, is an admirable stand against the communism that is causing the EU and Canada to descend in to governmental Orwellian surveillance, economic ruination, soccer, no freedoms and a whole bunch of stupid national anthems and incomprehensible languages.

      I salute Papa John's financially successful and well educated Facebook fans. Fight for the job creators, not the White House Politburo!

      • A job creator, cutting jobs and pay of already poorly paid employees,

        How much money should a pizza delivery driver make?

        Anyways, they make the bulk of their money on tips which they don't report so they don't have to pay taxes on them. You really have no idea how much they make.

        My wife worked at a car wash for 3 years. The detailers made 5.15 an hour. They made an unreported extra hundred in tips daily.

        • How much money should a pizza delivery driver make?

          Anyways, they make the bulk of their money on tips which they don't report so they don't have to pay taxes on them. You really have no idea how much they make.

          My wife worked at a car wash for 3 years. The detailers made 5.15 an hour. They made an unreported extra hundred in tips daily.

          Basic pay depends on the location. I don't have precise figures, but I can say straight off that there's a serious problem if someone is earning approximately fifty dollars gross a day with an additional hundred in undeclared earnings. Why isn't the job creator getting a cut of this, and paying taxes? The employees will probably blow that money on short-term goals, like food. The job creator will invest in their business to further enhance their business. Better that than the black economy you describe.

          By p

        • by mcgrew (92797) *

          Anyways, they make the bulk of their money on tips which they don't report so they don't have to pay taxes on them.

          Not sure about pizza drivers, but waitresses' tips are taxed even if they make no tips; they add a % to their wages for tax purposes. And waitresses earn LESS than minimum wage because of tips. If you make no tips (midnight shift at Denny's) you're paying too much tax. How many trips can a driver make in an hour? Yes, even with tips they're in poverty.

          • err FEDERAL LAW requires
            1 an absolute minimum wage for tipped employees
            2 if tips are not enough to make the difference between the absolute minimum and the federal minimum then the employer must make up the difference
            3 various bits on the extent of tip "pooling" (this prevents your top employees from funding the wages of the bottom ones)

            any employer that is not keeping good track of tips is
            1 an idiot
            2 violating federal law

        • pizza drivers have to pay for gas / all car repairs out of there own pocket and they get a very low per run rate + sub-mini pay on the road.

          Also that topper cuts MPG also papa makes his works pay for uniforms with markup as well.

    • by mea_culpa (145339)

      How is that illegal? Do we need government further micromanaging businesses? How has that ever helped the economy?
      It is his view as CEO that people are going to buy less pizza under Obama. Even though we don't see it, he does.
      Let his business sink or swim on its own merits.

      Personally, I think it is ridiculous that he is making a political statement at the expense of his employees. But from a business point of view (political posturing aside) I does make business sense.
      PPACA (Obamacare) is a radical change f

      • How is that illegal? Do we need government further micromanaging businesses? How has that ever helped the economy? It is his view as CEO that people are going to buy less pizza under Obama. Even though we don't see it, he does. ... Even if Romney didn't achieve that, businesses in general would have had less perceived uncertainty under Romeny and taken more risks in the form of investment and expansion giving a measurable boost to the economy.

        Spamming people on their cell phones is illegal. Firing people based on their political beliefs might not be illegal, but firing them because they are hispanic and probably voted for Obama might be (as one Papa John's franchisors might have done.)

        People are probably going to buy less pizza under Obama's next four years, at least from the big pizza chains. (http://www.qsrmagazine.com/competition/fall-pizza) They probably would have under Romney as well. Big pizza has been declining over the past decade, a

    • So you saying this lawsuit is a Liberal Agenda to get revenge on John Schnatter exercising the freedom of speech. By exercising loopholes in laws passed by the Liberal Elite, that are attended to clamp down on good and honest business, to help pave the way to a socialist communist America?

    • by kimvette (919543)

      I'm sure that if you're willing to pay two to three times the current price for pizza to cover the $8.5K-$24K additional each employee will cost the company, then papa john's will happily cover 100% of health insurance costs for their employees. Are you willing to pay that increase for pizza?

      I didn't think so.

      • Papa John himself estimated 10-14 cents a pizza. Forbes estimates just 5 cents. Taking Papa John's worst-case estimate and your best case-estimate, the highest price Papa John's pizza could be today is seven cents.

        Yeah, I'm willing to go from 7 cents to 14 cents a pizza. That's a friggin' steal either way.

    • by King_TJ (85913)

      Honestly, this doesn't really change my opinion of them a bit. All these people placing them on a "do not buy" list ... what do you hope to accomplish with that? Just by pure statistics alone, very close to HALF the entire voting U.S. population claims to side with Schnatter's support for Romney. That's far more than enough potential customers for him to remain very successful, EVEN if you could somehow convince ALL who disagree to never buy a Papa John's pizza again. So right away -- no hope of a succe

  • by mrpacmanjel (38218) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @06:54AM (#41990003)

    If they offered a spam topping on their pizza then I'll be interested.

    Little rectangular squares of ambrosia..mmmmm.....pizza....

    I used to get texts from Pizza Hut until I asked them to stop. However if Papa John ignored their own "stop" requests they shouldn't be surprised if they get fined (mind you $500 per text is a bit excessive).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 15, 2012 @07:08AM (#41990053)

    What I imagine happened is this: A marketing firm contacts Papa John's marketing about spamming sms, convinces them its a great idea.

    Marketing arm of Papa Johns goes ahead on its own, resulting in this case.

    At no point was any technical, legal or compliance arm of Papa Johns consulted, where they would have found people who know about this stuff due to existing business relationships with above-board SMS platform providers who would have informed them of the legal requirements for operating a sms service (opt-ins, requirement for STOP handling, etc).

    Anonymous because the stuff in bold is true.

    This won't go to trial, it will be settled beforehand. The case is that unwinnable for Papa Johns.

  • Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ronin Developer (67677) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @07:55AM (#41990225)

    Couldn't happen to a "nicer" guy. He was so angry about the $0.14 per pizza he would have to spend to give his employees healthcare coverage that he will now be paying out the equivalent on healthcare costs for an entire state and with nothing to show for it.

    Oops.

    Stupid is as stupid does.

  • "The sum total of Plaintiff's allegations appear to be that she received one or more unspecified text messages about pizza or related products on her cellular phone."

    Seems to me the company that Papa John's (or it's franchisees) hired to run the campaign is responsible for deciding who gets the messages... Unless, of course, there is a document from Papa John's or it's franchisees directing the third-party to either ignore requests to remove numbers from the campaign OR instructed the vendor to send text me

    • It could be argued that unless they specified in the contract that it was to be opt-in, or double opt-in, they are responsible, especially given evidence that they knew it was "probably illegal". "I told the hit hitman to 'get rid of him', I didn't specifically say 'kill him'" doesn't fly.
  • by WOOFYGOOFY (1334993) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @08:29AM (#41990373)

    he pizza maker could have to pay damages of $500 per text message, or US$250 million, one of the largest damage awards under the 1991 law...

    That would have bought some health care for their employees.

    According to Forbes magazine, it would cost Papa Johns 5 cents per pizza to provide health care to their employees.

    http://www.upi.com/Health_News/2012/11/14/Forbes-Papa-Johns-ACA-cost-5-cents/UPI-54101352940627/ [upi.com]

    It never was about the nickle and it never was. Most species of apes, specifically the males, assert their sexual dominance by keeping more of the good stuff - whatever that might be- for themselves than they can possibly use. This is so they can broadcast the fact of their dominance to females .

    I think it's safe to say that the owner of Papa Johns is a physically unprepossessing specimen, basically he looks like some guy on your neighborhood watch.

    http://www.politico.com/politico44/2012/08/papa-johns-obamacare-will-raise-pizza-prices-131331.html [politico.com]

    Without a mindset that causes him to spend his life seeking, acquiring hording and displaying his wealth, he'd never get laid, or at least, he would not get as laid as he feels he should be.

    In making a show of denying those under him healthcare, and especially by talking about how little it would cost him to provide those benefits as per the article above his primordial mind is attempting to broadcast the fact of his sexual dominance / desirability to available females. That's what's going on here.

    When shit as demented as "No nickle for healthcare !!!! " becomes that public and is even paraded around by the perps themselves, you have to go to waaaaay back in evolutionary time to find the part of their brain that's being activated.

    It's amusing that the conservatives who deny evolution is real seem also to be the people whose motivations are most clearly amenable to forces governing basic evolutionary processes.

    • by Dr_Barnowl (709838) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @10:06AM (#41990965)

      I'm sure there is an element of this, but it's not just about the nickel ; it's about the dollars he'd have to spend on wages for employees that were no longer terrified of losing their jobs.

      People who aren't worried about their healthcare costs are less scared of losing their job. The American healthcare system is a nightmare because a single accident can bankrupt you, wipe you out, make you choose between keeping a finger and sending your kids to college.

      People like this ass perceive their employees as convenient victims, not partners in their pizza enterprise. Making them happier and more content is not on their agenda, because happy contented people are less likely to want to work for minimum wage and clock out when the restaurant is empty.

      • I find your post insightful- yes having a society that functions as the maw of an alligator waiting to eat you EXCEPT for the pittance your employer affords you is exactly the model they are trying to preserve. It's a slave owner's mentality, and they barely make any bones about it. Nice going

        I think that we're actually offering two complimentary explanations. I'm reflecting on the ultimate motivation of why corporations like Papa Johns are run the way they're run INSTEAD OF some other, completely afford

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      Offtopic? I guess I need to metamod today, because whoever modded this should NOT ever get mod points. It was not only on topic but a bit interesting. However, I can't quite agree; thinking evolution is bunk is a sign of ignorance, not conservatism.

  • I hope that other companies are paying attention to this. To me, unwanted texts are particularly annoying. I'm already used to finding dead tree junk mail in my mailbox and junk email but there is something about junk texts that just seems... sleazy. News flash Papa...if I want to order a pie I know where to find you. No need to spam me with junk texts. Maybe the problem is that in order to receive text messages I have to pay for them, unlike email and tree mail.

    If they get hit with the $250M fine we all kn

  • Nice followup to the Obamacare PR fiasco, dipshits. Alienate half your customers by being a dick about providing health care coverage for your employees and then top that by spamming everyone's cell phones with unwanted texts.

    One more is a hat trick. You're this close to the stupid trifecta, might as well go for the gold.

    Maybe announce you don't want to pay for birth control and alienate your female customers. Or rape comments are all the rage these days, though it would be hard to come up with any n

  • Like to each person on their list?

    They must of contracted out this advertising and paid per spam message, because no one would think that that would drum up business.

  • by CosaNostra Pizza Inc (1299163) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @03:28PM (#41994669)
    I promiss my company sends no unwanted pizza related texts.

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