A plaintiff recently filed a class action lawsuit against Google and its subsidiary, Slide, alleging that the companies violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act by sending text messages to consumers without their consent.
Google and Slide recently released Disco, a “group texting” service that allows consumers to send text messages to up to 99 people at the same time. Message recipients can also respond via text to all members of the group simultaneously by sending a single message. Messages can quickly accumulate, and the named plaintiff alleges he received more than 100 text messages in a single day. According to the complaint, members of a group do not provide consent to be part of the group or receive messages; instead, group members must opt-out if they want to stop receiving group messages.
As we’ve noted before, various courts have generally held that companies must obtain express consent before they can send text messages to consumers. In this case, the defendants are likely to argue that they did not send the messages themselves, but that argument has yet to be tested. Companies should check with their counsel before sending text messages or implementing any promotion that allows consumers to send text messages to determine what consents may be necessary.