Tag Archives: Spam

Start Freakin if you’re Beacon- Company Faces More Than $20 Million in Potential Penalties for Spam Text…

SEATTLE, Jan. 28, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — On January 24, 2013, King County Superior Court Judge Barbara Linde certified a class action lawsuit against Beacon Plumbing & Mechanical, Inc. for spam text messages. The company could be ordered to pay consumers more than $20 million in penalties as the case moves forward.

Beacon Plumbing is a company in the Seattle area best known for its slogan, “Stop Freakin’ Call Beacon.” The lawsuit contends that the company sent more than 43,000 illegal text messages to cell phones as part of an advertising campaign. According to papers in the case, on March 9, 2012, text messages were sent to 22,489 cellular telephones stating: “VALUED CUSTOMERS: Beacon Plumbing has gone mobile. To receive future discounts via text reply BEACON to opt in. 2endTxtSTOP.” It is alleged that a second text message was sent to 20,487 cell phones.

The court ruling means that the case against Beacon Plumbing will move forward as a class action. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act allows a consumer to collect damages of $500 per illegal text message. That amount can be increased to $1,500 per text message if the violation is considered to be “willful.” A Washington statute allows similar penalties.

Jacob Barr , one of the consumers who brought the case, was pleased with the ruling, stating, “I hope that rulings like this can keep unwanted text message spam out of cell phones.” He added, “I did not give Beacon Plumbing permission to send me text messages. After receiving a text message alert, who wants to pick up their phone only to find the equivalent of junk mail?”

This is the second Washington case on spam text messages to be certified recently as a large class action. On November 9, 2012, a federal court judge in Seattle certified a nationwide class action lawsuit against Papa John’s International, Inc. regarding promotional text messages. The potential damages in that case reportedly could exceed $250 million. The Seattle law firm Heyrich Kalish McGuigan PLLC represents the consumers in both the Beacon Plumbing and Papa John’s cases.

Donald W. Heyrich , attorney for consumers in the case, called the ruling “another wake up call to advertisers.” Heyrich stated, “Congress and the Washington Legislature enacted these laws to protect consumer privacy. Our firm is committed to protecting these important rights.” He added, “If you do not have advanced permission from your customers, do not send them text messages.”

Man Awarded $62K in Lawsuit Against Bank For 56 Harassing Robo-Calls

$62,000 for 56 phone calls to your cell phone? Wow.

SOUTHFIELD, Mich., May 31, 2012 /PRNewswire– Dan Harris said he received 56 robo-calls on his cell phone intended for another person from Alliance Data Systems, acting on behalf of World Financial Network National Bank (WFNNB).  Alliance and WFNNB claimed that one of its customers had given Mr. Harris’s cell phone number to them, but admitted that Mr. Harris informed them of the error shortly after they began calling.

Harris sued because he never owed WFNNB any money and never had any business dealings with the bank.  Nevertheless WFNNB and Alliance repeatedly autodialed his cell phone after learning of the mistake.  WFNNB and Alliance admitted calling Mr. Harris’s cell phone 56 times from August 18 to October 26, 2010.

via PR Newswire 

HoroscopeGenie attempts to rip me off with SMS Spam

I was out for a drive Sunday when I received two random SMS messages on my iPhone 4S:

I glanced at them and assumed they were simply random spam messages and considered deleting them. While it said I could type “Stop” to cancel I assumed it would only confirm I am a “live” user and would result in carpet bombing of my phone number.

When I got home I did some quick google searches for “Horoscopegenie 271-40” and discovered that lots of people have been getting this crap sent to their phones as well. Worse, it appears if you do nothing it will charge you 10 bucks a month. I quickly called 611 from my iPhone to get customer service. After explaining the situation the AT&T rep told me to reply with “Stop”, and she would look at my account. Sure enough, I had already been charged $10.85 (9.99+tax).  She immediately cancelled the charge, my bill will show the charge of 10.85 with a credit of 10.85 so I won’t pay for this scam.

I asked about protecting myself from further SMS scams, she explained AT&T offers a free “Purchase Block” feature that will not allow users to get charged for SMS interactions. Seemed like a no brainer so I had that immediately activated.

I’m glad I didn’t just ignore the SMS. I recommend anyone with AT&T call and have the purchase block enabled on their account!

Stopping spam text messages from AIM

[04-25-11 UPDATE, If you are having problems with texts that do not come from AIM please check my new post stopping spam texts part 2.] A few days ago I started getting random “stock tip” text messages on my iphone:

These were from what appeared to be some kind of AOL instant messenger account. I did not want to reply or do anything with them, assuming that would tell the spammer I was alive and he would then fill my inbox with more crap.

I called AT&T customer service (611 from my iPhone) and after a long wait I finally had a live customer service agent to work with. I explained the situation to her, she said “type in “stop” and by law they have to stop sending you spam” I explained it was not coming from a phone, but rather an AIM account. She had no idea what I was trying to explain. She had no solutions, other than to buy some AT&T service for $5.00 a month that lets you block messages from certain numbers. Well since this is coming from some odd server I doubt that would help.

After a little google research I discovered you can block ALL AIM messages to your phone by doing the following:

Type the word “out” to the following number 265019

In a few seconds I received a confirmation that I am now blocking all messages from AOL instant messenger.

I hope this helps someone else who is having issues with AIM spam via text messages. AT&T customer service certainly wont help you.