A class action lawsuit against Uber was recently filed in Illinois federal court, claiming that Uber text messages to potential drivers violate the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).  Under the TCPA, telemarketing text messages require prior written authorization from any recipients.

The plaintiffs in the Illinois class action seek damages of $500 or $1,500 for each Uber text message sent that violates the TCPA. One message received by the plaintiff in the class action case reads as follows: “You’re invited to drive Uber.  No schedule.  No boss.  Sign up now and get a $500 bonus.”

Uber has argued in other similar lawsuits  –  including one that is ongoing in Georgia federal court and at least two others in California federal courts  –  that the text messages are employment offers, not telemarketing.  The TCPA does not require prior consent to be in writing for texts of employment offers.  Uber has had some success with this argument to defeat class certification in the two federal cases in California.  But it is important to note that defeating class certification is not a decision on whether the texts violate the TCPA.

It will be interesting to see if Illinois’s and Georgia’s federal courts follow California’s federal courts in holding that the texts are employment offers, or whether they rule that the Uber texts are, in fact, advertisements for services requiring prior consent in writing from the recipients. This most recent class action case is among the hundreds of cases filed annually regarding spam text messages sent by various entities.

Have you been sent a spam text from Uber?

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