Buffalo Bills to pay $3 million for excessive text messages

The payments will be via debit card and not redeemable for cash

Nobody circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills, but according to one court settlement, nobody sends text message alerts quite like them either.

The Bills have settled for up to $3 million in a class action lawsuit that claimed the team sent more text message alerts than its terms of service allowed. The suit claimed that the text messages were violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

The original suit was brought by Bills fan Jerry Wojcik, who signed up for the text message alerts in 2012. The team’s terms of text service said that the team would not send more than five text messages a week, but according to the lawsuit, Wojcik received 13 texts over the span of two weeks.

Because of the small difference between the terms and the actual number of texts, many panned the lawsuit as frivolous. But U.S. District Judge Steven D. Merryday disagreed, allowing the suit to proceed as a class action. The Bills and Wojcik settled shortly after with the help of a court-approved mediator.

“The Buffalo Bills have reached a settlement in this matter which we believe is in the best interest of our organization and our fans. The purpose of the Bills’ voluntary, opt-in text messaging program was to provide our fans with information they requested about the team. The organization maintains that our text messaging program was in compliance with the law,” a team spokesman told The Buffalo News on April 21. The spokesman also said the team has instituted safeguards to ensure that this type of error does not happen again.

Interestingly enough, the class will receive payment, but not the cash payment that typically accompanies class action suits. Instead, the team will issue debit cards worth $57.50, $65 or $75 to the class of 39,750 phone numbers. Those debit cards will be redeemable at the Bills’ stadium store or online at the team’s website, but they will not be redeemable for cash. The team filed a motion along with the settlement that this constitutes an appropriate form of settlement since the class consists of solely Bills fans.

 

For more on the Telephone Consumer Protection Act in legal news, check out these articles:

Courts narrowly interpreting an automated telephone dialing system under TCPA

Telephone Consumer Protection Act attracting more litigation

New robocall regulations likely to spark deluge of litigation

7th Circuit says lawyer is liable for faxing “mundane advice”

Assistant Editor

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Zach Warren

Zach Warren is Assistant Editor of InsideCounsel magazine, where he oversees online content submissions and administers InsideCounsel's enewsletters. Zach specializes in new media and multimedia...

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