Class Action Slap Shot

The Pittsburgh Penguins Hockey team is a defendant in a recently filed class action lawsuit in a California federal court. The complaint was filed by a fan who’d signed up for a mobile service to receive text message alerts about the team. In his complaint, he contends that after signing up, he received more text messages than the three a week maximum promised by the team. The fan, Fred Weiss says that violates the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. Mr. Weiss seems to be a stickler for detail. Apparently, in the first week after subscribing he received 5 text messages, and in the second week, he got 4. Not exactly a flood of spam. And the irony is, it is entirely possible he is misreading the terms of his agreement with the Pens. He bases his claim on this language:

Your carrier’s standard messaging and data rates apply to all SMS correspondence. Other charges may apply. By subscribing, you consent to receiving, from time to time, further text messages from us which may include offers from us, our affiliates and partners. Available on participating carriers. Maximum of 3 messages a week. To end this service, text “STOP” to 32623. For help text “HELP” to 32623 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call 412-642-1300.

There is probably an argument that the 3 message maximum applies not to all the text messages from the team, but only to promotional offers. So Mr. Weiss may find he doesn’t have a case here. But it is a good lesson to businesses offering mobile services to read the terms of the agreement carefully and make sure there’s no ambiguity. Class action litigation should be avoided like the penalty box.