January 5, 2016

Western Union TCPA Settlement Largest Per-Member Deal Yet

There has been extensive news coverage surrounding the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), especially since the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) made revisions to it last summer. As the FCC continues to become stricter to ensure the protection of consumers, many companies are now under scrutiny for their marketing initiatives and are facing the unfortunate consequences: hefty fines and brand damage. Recently, Western Union, one of the largest money transferring services joined the roster.
Western Union recently agreed to pay approximately $8.5 million to a class of over 800,000 individuals who received unwanted text messages. This will be the largest per-class member settlement in TCPA history.
Western Union agreed to the settlement to avoid further litigation after being sued by Jason Douglas. Douglas stated that in 2014 Western Union sent him unsolicited text messages asking if he wanted to receive further text message updates from the company. Douglas specified that he did not consent to these text messages and therefore, filed a class action suit accusing Western Union of violating the TCPA.
Unsolicited text messages are prohibited under the TCPA without express written consent from a consumer, under the automated dialer clause which prohibits the use of an automated telephone dialing system from delivering a recorded message to a mobile phone. The text message prohibition ban applies to all mobile phone numbers even if it is not currently registered on the National Do Not Call Registry.
TCPA lawsuits are on the rise, which means organizations need to stay on top of the ever changing telemarketing regulations and make smart decisions when they market to consumers via the telephone.