In an unexpected declaration from a Chicago federal judge on Monday, web giant Yahoo have found themselves faced with a class action lawsuit against them on the grounds of the sending of a large volume of unsolicited text messages to users of the Sprint Corp telephone company. Yahoo was found to have been sending ‘welcome’ messages to the users whenever another user sent them a ‘ping’ on Yahoo messenger.
Yahoo is yet to comment on the lawsuit but has unsurprisingly chosen to fight the legal claims against them. Their argument is based on the idea that the penalties and costs associated with such cases would be disproportionate to the harm caused. These costs? If the messaging was chosen to be wilful, violates the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act, resulting in damages of up to $1500 per case. With as many as 500,000 users affected by the messaging, the costs would start to add up, not to mention the legal costs of each claim. U.S. District Judge Manish Shah did not believe that Yahoo’s objections to the lawsuits were reasonable and informed the affected users that they could sue as a group due to the similarity of their claims. Should the case against Yahoo be successful, the costs could easily have them writing a bill for millions of dollars.
Nothing is more annoying than unsolicited spam, even more so on your personal telephone. Hopefully, this case should deter other companies from sending unwanted messages to users in future should it be successful.