Papa John's Sued For $250 Million Over Illegal Text Campaign

Owen Poindexter
The pizza chain Papa John's sent text messages to half a million customers, and may have to pay $250 million or more to a class of plaintiffs.

How much do you pay for text messages? 5 cents? 3 cents? $20 per month? For the pizza chain Papa John’s, the answer could be somewhere between $500 and $1500. Papa John’s is being sued by a class of plaintiffs who received unwanted text messages advertising Papa John’s charmingly average pizzas. Papa John’s hired the marketing company OnTime4U to send text messages to customers who had ordered from them. Half a million customers received the unsolicited texts.

"After I ordered from Papa John's, my telephone started beeping with text messages advertising pizza specials," Erin Chutich, one of the plaintiffs, said in a statement. "Papa John's never asked permission to send me text message advertisements."

The plaintiffs’ attorneys are arguing that the messages were not just annoying, but illegal. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 disallows sending advertisements via text message without a consumer first opting into the service.

This comes on the heels of what had already been a bad week for Papa John’s. Their CEO John Schnatter found himself in hot water after saying that he would probably have to cut employees’ hours to avoid providing coverage under Obamacare.


Image: Reuters