Steve Madden, Ltd. (“Steve Madden”), accused of sending more than 200,000 text messages to consumers without consent.
The other big brand that got hit with a multi-million dollar class action lawsuit after sending unsolicited text messages is Steve Madden Ltd., footwear giant. The Steve Madden class action lawsuit, titled Ellison v. Steven Madden, Ltd., that alleges the company sent unsolicited text messages to consumers advertising Steve Madden’s fashion products and promotional events. According to the class action lawsuit, these text ads violated the (TCPA) Telephone Consumer Protection Act because consumers did not give consent to receive any text.
Apparently, Steve Madden denied any wrongdoing but agreed to a $10 million class action lawsuit settlement to resolve the litigation. Its said that around 200k+ customers received text message from a period July 2010 until September 25, with advertisements promoting Steve Madden events, footwear and fashion products. Those who received a text message from the short code 623336 or 91919 were eligible for a payment of up to $150 settlement suite of $10 million.
Some of the text sent could be found online and here one of them:
Hello from Steve Madden! Good news! We are offering free shipping on all orders on our website. Ship, ship, hooray! Use code HOLYSHIP at checkout. Shop right from your phone!: http://bit.ly/SMFreeShip
Don’t be confused by the lawsuit because the marketing strategy was a great channel and good tactic to reach customers, but unfortunately it didn’t comply with the TCPA and MMA best practice.
Steve Madden presented two defenses to these accusations:
That consumers had implicitly consented to receive text message solicitations by providing their cell phone numbers while visiting Steve Madden stores; and alternatively
That a third party advertiser sent the text messages and should be responsible, not Steve Madden.
Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) provides for, among other things, statutory damages to individuals who receive unsolicited text messages to personal cell phones – unless the messages are sent for emergency purposes or the recipient has given his or her express consent to receive such messages. The TCPA has been interpreted by the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) and most courts to include unsolicited short message service (SMS) text messages within its definition of “calls.”The TCPA allows for actual damages, or statutory damages ranging from $500.00 to $1,500.00, per unsolicited call/text message. If you’re a text message marketer, watch out for TCPA as this has become a fertile ground for class action litigation. A good example is how Steve Madden settled the case against it for $10 million dollars.
Concluding, on May 9, 2013, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) released a declaratory ruling clarifying the liability of a seller for violations of the Telemarketing Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) made by third-party telemarketers and others who place calls to market the seller’s products or services.