What We Have Learned from the Lithia Texting Lawsuit

March 8, 2016 popart

What We Have Learned from the Lithia Texting Lawsuit
Companies take texting for granted. However, when one faces lawsuits, especially a legal person, one cannot help but wonder what the rules really are. But maybe it is already too late.

Five years ago, a major texting lawsuit occurred and we can all learn from it today.

What happened with Lithia Motors Inc.?

Automotive News reports that in April 2011, 57,800 consumers received a short text message on their mobile phones which reads:

“0% financing on used vehicles during the biggest sale ever. Over 3000 used vehicles at Lithia Motors.”

One week later, 48,000 of those phones received a follow-up message, even those who opted out of receiving further messages (nearly 6,000). And the result? Gigantic lawsuits worth millions of dollars.

But, why?

Just because you have someone’s number, and you happen to be a legal person, car dealer for example, this does not mean that you can use it as a means of advertising.

“Don’t assume you know the rules governing those new media,” says Arlena Sawyers of Automotive News.

This is serious offense and a violation of the TCPA rules.

Lessons learned: what car dealers now know

Namely, when Lithia corp. had sent those two text messages to almost 58,000 mobile phones in April 2011, it violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), which prohibits unwanted calls or text messages to cell phones, and state consumer protection laws.

This resulted in angry recipients who responded with two federal lawsuits and $2.5 million tab for texting. In November 2011, Lithia Motors Inc. agreed to settle and pay the tab for unsolicited cell phone advertising.

Lessons learned:

  • Violating the TCPA is expensive;
  • Car dealers must be aware of texting laws and rules;
  • According to TCPA, when a dealership (or any other business for that matter) wants to contact customers via personal phone, prior written consent is needed;
  • Outsourcing is okay if you do not know the rules: leave mobile texting solutions to trusted professionals;
  • Never spam your customers.

Find the right texting solution in Advantage txt

Dealerships must find the right texting solution which complies with TCPA and FCC rules.

The Advantage Tec texting solution is called advantage txt and it improves real-time communication with your customers. CDK Certified and Approved Interface is integrated with automotive DMS vendors and can be viewed on all mobile devices.

Providing simple cost effective texting technology is Advantage Tec’s daily business. Our mission is Making Customers Happy and helping car dealerships improve communication and therewith-increasing CSI and CSE scores.

Advantage txt texting software is available to all brands – may it be Acura, Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Chrysler, Chevrolet, Fiat, GMC, Ford, Honda, Infiniti, Kia Lexus, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Mini Cooper, Nissan Subaru, Toyota, Volvo and Volkswagen.

Auto dealerships can call us or text “demo” to (415) 429-5588 to set up a demonstration today.

External resources:

Automotive News
Driving Sales
Oregon Live

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