On August 29, yet another Telephone Consumer Protection Act class action was filed in the Middle District of Florida. This suit, however, is a bit different than others that we have seen.
In Gillmore v. Lokey Automotive Group, Inc., the complaint alleges that text messages sent to the plaintiff April Gillmore by an automobile dealership relating to a recall for her 2003 Volkswagen were sent without her prior express consent. More importantly, because the recall identified in the text messages were not covered under the car's warranty, these texts were allegedly a sham to solicit the consumer to schedule an appointment at the dealership. Gillmore seeks to represent a broader class of individuals who received text messages without having consented.
While many companies have become accustomed to seeing debt collection and telemarketing-related TCPA lawsuits, Gillmore is a twist on the average TCPA case because it focuses on "service-related" text messages. Companies today must understand the potential "contextual consent" argument that many plaintiffs' lawyers will try to make in litigation. As always, the types of outbound telephone communications a company makes to a consumer should be guided by the reason and purpose that the consumer provided his or her telephone number. Obtaining broad consent and documenting such consent is vital.
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