Papa John’s Ordered to Give Up the Dough

Papa John’s: It’s probably not better pizza.

Whoever thought text messages offering special deals on pizza would be a bad thing?  A class-action lawsuit has been filed against Papa John’s for sending illegal messages to their potential clients.  Plaintiffs are claiming that while they originally provided their cell phone numbers to the take-out pizza chain, they did not consent to receive advertisements via text message.  Some members of the class-action suit have reported to receive multiple texts back-to-back, and also at odd hours of the night.  The third party mobile marketing agency, OnTime4U, is also a defendant in the suit.  Plaintiffs are seeking compensation at the rate of $500-$1500 per text message.

Unfortunately for Papa John’s, there is a written act created specifically for preventing situations such as these.  The Telephone Consumer Protection Act, enacted in 1991, prevents any sort of advertising (including spam).  This is also not the first time Papa John’s has been sued; Pizza Hut filed a claim against them concerning the slogan “better pizza”, and that this didn’t necessarily mean the ingredients Papa John’s uses were fresher or of a higher quality.  Interestingly enough, shares of Papa John’s (PIZZA) have fallen about 2% since the news about a lawsuit broke.  John Schnatter, the Founder and CEO, has generally been known as one of the more successful business men in the food industry despite the suits.

I can’t imagine it was Papa John’s original intention to spam their customers who willingly provided their contact information.  I imagine the problem here lies with OnTime4U and some kind of technical error on their end; but at the end of the day, they’re both liable.  It seems like $250 million is a very large number for a few errant text messages, but other than protecting consumers or possible personal injury, I suppose some of those texts could’ve contributed to more expensive phone bills.  Obviously, Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning has no issue with the take out chain, as he recently bought franchises in the Denver area upon signing with the team.  The lawsuit seems to be unavoidable at this point;  it looks like Papa John’s is going to have to fork over a piece of the pie.