A proposed class action claims DoNotPay, Inc. has overstepped the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) by sending automated text messages to consumers who never provided prior express consent to be contacted.
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According to the case, DoNotPay, which operates a legal services chatbot app touted as “the world’s first robot lawyer,” engaged in a mass telemarketing campaign that made use of an automatic telephone dialing system (ATDS) to send non-emergency text messages—a practice the suit says is prohibited by law unless the sender obtains the recipients’ prior express written consent.
The plaintiff, an Illinois consumer, says he received to his cell phone on September 26, 2020 several messages that read:
“Hey there it’s Jen from DoNotPay – we know it’s a lot to ask for your payment details upfront, we really do. But here’s a statistic – DoNotPay users save an average of $450 in cold, hard cash per year. Sue robocallers, cancel free trials and never have to deal with customer service again. If you aren’t satisfied, we’ll go ahead and delete your details and refund you in full. Finish signing up in the [sic].”
Per the case, the texts constituted telemarketing in that they specifically asked the plaintiff to sign up for DoNotPay’s services. The plaintiff argues, however, that he never provided his express consent to be contacted with marketing messages sent by way of an ATDS.
According to the suit, the defendant has sent “identical messages” to potentially thousands of other individuals using a messaging platform capable of transmitting the texts without human involvement.
Joshua Browder, DoNotPay’s founder, called the lawsuit “frivolous and boilerplate” in a statement to Law360.
“The lawsuit is filed by a professional plaintiff who has filed these template TCPA suits against multiple companies,” Browder said. “Unfortunately, litigation is a routine part of any large business and it was only a matter of time before someone tried their luck. Unfortunately, robots aren’t yet capable of arguing in Federal Court, so we have hired the best humans in the country to do it on our behalf.”
The full complaint can be read below.
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