Viacom Accused Of Spamming Mobile Users

MYV-BViacom has been hit with a potential class-action lawsuit for allegedly sending people text messages promoting “Real World” and other TV shows.

Tennessee resident Erin Mock alleges in a complaint filed in federal court that Viacom violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act by spamming her cell phone with ads touting MTV programs.

That law, which bans companies from using automated dialing services to send SMS messages without the recipients' consent, provides for damages of up to $1,500 per incident.

Mock says she initially provided her cell phone number to Viacom in response to an ad urging people to vote via text for their favorite Video Music Awards nominees. She says that the ad, which aired during the MTV's 2011 broadcast of the Video Music Awards, didn't warn people that voting would subject them to “future text spam advertisements.”



Within one month of voting, Mock allegedly received three text messages from Viacom promoting TV shows like “Real World: San Diego” and “Jersey Shore.” After receiving the third message, she sent a text to Viacom saying “stop,” she alleges.

Viacom then sent her a message confirming that she had opted out of future ads. Nonetheless, four days later, the company allegedly sent her another ad for “Real World.”

“The TCPA was designed to prevent calls and messages like the ones described within this complaint and to protect the privacy of citizens like plaintiff,” Mock says in her lawsuit, which was filed this month as a potential class-action in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee. Mock is seeking monetary damages, as well as an injunction against Viacom.

Viacom declined to comment for this article.

Many courts have allowed consumers to bring lawsuits that appear similar to the one against Viacom. Most recently, a federal judge ruled last week that consumers could proceed with a lawsuit alleging that Coca-Cola violated the law by sending unwanted SMS ads to consumers.



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