iHeartMedia Sued Over Text Message Ads
Z100/New York, KDWB/Minneapolis & Hot 99.5/Washington, D.C. Cited
June 5, 2015 at 4:00 AM (PT)
A lawsuit has been filed against iHEARTMEDIA, INC. over what the complaint terms "unauthorized text messages" sent to consumers' cell phones by the company's radio stations.
In the complaint, styled as a class action and filed by BETH SHVARTS in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of NEW YORK, iHEARTMEDIA is accused of harvesting the cell phone numbers of those responding to on-air solicitations to text to enter contests or make requests, and then using automatic dialers to send texts to those numbers, a practice the plaintiff alleges is a violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
Examples in the complaint involve the plaintiff entering Top 40 WHTZ (Z100)/NEW YORK's "$1,000 THURSDAY" contest by texting 55100 and getting a response from the ELVIS DURAN Show with an ad to play "WORDS WITH FRIENDS" and a link to download the app.
Other examples shown included ads for SKY ZONE INDOOR TRAMPOLINE PARK (at Top 40 KDWB/MINNEAPOLIS), the SPECS HOWARD SCHOOL OF MEDIA ARTS, and CIRCLE K (at Top 40 WIHT (HOT 99.5)/WASHINGTON, D.C.).
The suit adds that the response texts are not disclosed in the solicitations to text the stations and require prior express written consent.
The suit seeks a minimum of $500 damages for each violation, plus treble damages and injunctive relief and attorney's fees.