Viacom Settles SMS Spam Lawsuit

Viacom has resolved a text-spam lawsuit by agreeing to pay $3,000 to Tennessee resident Eric Mock, who alleged that the media company sent her SMS ads promoting TV shows.

The settlement agreement, which was quietly filed last month with U.S. District Court Judge Todd Campbell, also requires Viacom to confirm that its current text-messaging provider belongs to the Mobile Marketing Association. Viacom will also pay Mock's lawyer $52,000 in fees, according to court papers.

The deal resolves a lawsuit filed by Mock in May. She alleged that Viacom violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act by spamming her cell phone with ads for “Real World” and other MTV programs. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act bans companies from using automated dialing services to send SMS messages without the recipients' consent. The statute provides for damages of up to $1,500 per incident.



Mock alleged in her complaint that she provided her cell phone number to Viacom in 2011, in response to an ad urging people to vote via text for their favorite Video Music Awards nominees. 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.”

Viacom did not admit to violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. But the agreement filed with the court notes that the company no longer uses the same text-messaging vendor as in 2011, when the alleged spam campaign occurred. The settlement also specifically requires Viacom to confirm that its new text-messaging provider adheres to the Mobile Marketing Association's guidelines, which require members to honor opt-out requests as soon as possible.

"Spam" photo from Shutterstock.


1 comment about "Viacom Settles SMS Spam Lawsuit".
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  1. Trevor Gehman from Clearstream, August 14, 2013 at 4:42 p.m.

    Lawsuits are a serious concern in the SMS marketing industry. It's always important to make sure your provider follows both the MMA (Mobile Marketing Association) and CTIA guidelines.

    Clearstream is an SMS marketing software provider that follows all these guidelines, which ultimately makes the experience of text message marketing more effective and enjoyable for the business and the end-user.

    We offer free accounts as well, to introduce people to the process of effective mobile marketing.

    Trevor Gehman
    Clearstream SMS Marketing

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