Payday Loan Text Spammers Get Sued
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UPDATED: Dec 17, 2012
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A Florida firm is being sued for spam-like text messages that advertised a payday loan company in the state of Washington.
“Consumers pay for text messaging in order to stay in touch with family, friends and business contacts – not to receive spam that’s as illegal as it is annoying. This lawsuit is a reminder to spammers that there are consequences for breaking the law,” said Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna in a press release.
McKenna intends to hold Dinav Holding, Inc. responsible for violating the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), the Washington State Commercial Electronic Mail Act (CEMA), and the Washington State Consumer Protection Act. Aside from civil penalties under Washington state law, Dinav Holding is facing up to $500 in damage charges per violation.
“Unsolicited commercial texting is yet another form of spam. Spammers, known for invading computers, now recognize that most of us now carry powerful computers – mobile phones – and they are determined to invade those, as well. Ours is the first case filed by a state attorney general’s office against text message spammers,” said Assistant Attorney General Paula Selis, the head of McKenna’s High Tech Unit, in the press release.
Federal law prohibits calls made using automated dialing systems without prior recipient consent, which is exactly what Dinav Holding Inc. did back in May,. At the state level, Washington law prohibits the texting of commercial messages to mobile phones. Violating CEMA is also an automatic violation of the state’s Consumer Protection Act.
According to Selis, since many consumers have phone plans with a limited number of texts, or which charge per text message, it can become expensive to receive unwarranted text messages. Since consumers were unable to avoid Dinav’s text messages, many of them incurred expensive fees for going over a set number or receiving a large amount of texts.
Additionally, the texts contained links that offered access to money in the form of payday loans of up to $1,500. However, the payday loan providers that were accessible through the texts’ links were unauthorized to lend payday loans within the state.
The lawsuit intends to claim costs and attorney’s fees as well as monetary charges per violation of state law from the owners of Dinav Holdings, Inc.