How much does it cost to send a text message?
It’s often less than a cent if you’re a marketer sending in bulk, but U.S. pizza chain Papa John’s could be forced to pay $1,500 a pop for 500,000 text messages its franchisees sent in 2010.
A class action lawsuit alleges that the chain’s franchisees, though a third party text messaging service, sent promotional ads to consumers without their permission in violation of a 1991 law. The attorneys for the plaintiffs in the case are asking for $250m in damages, but a jury could award triple that amount if it decides that Papa John’s willfully violated the law.
While it remains to be seen just how likely an eight-figure verdict is, and it would seem that there’s a decent chance the class action will be settled before the matter is put in the hands of a jury, Papa John’s plight provides several good lessons for other marketers using SMS to reach consumers.