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Selling a Car, Texting and the TCPA

After a car dealership (allegedly) texted a person who listed a car for sale on Craiglist, the would be seller filed a class action suit against the dealer claiming the texts were unsolicited, made without consent, and violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

The Florida federal court, in light of the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, 136 S. Ct. 1540 (2016) ordered briefing on whether texting created standing for the Craiglist seller to sue. On review, the federal court concluded receiving prohibited text messages and calls amount to sufficiently concrete and particularized harm. The court acknowledged other cases from around the country in which courts held that violations of the TCPA alone do not create injury for standing to sue but disagreed with this analysis.  Instead, just the unsolicited telephone contact was the injury and any analysis of how the person was contacted does not matter for standing.  With ongoing disagreement among courts throughout the country on what constitutes an injury sufficient to bring suit in federal court, expect rulings to continue to come down on both sides of the issue until the appellate courts provide further guidance.

The case is Mohamed v. Off Lease Only, Inc., Case No. 15-23352-Civ-COOKE/TORRES.

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