The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals found the owner of the Akira retail chain didn’t violate federal and state law when it sent promotional text messages to customers who had provided their phone numbers. Nicole B. filed a class‐action lawsuit against Chicago‐based Bijora, Inc., which operates the Akira clothing stores, alleging that Akira’s practice of sending promotional text messages to customers violated the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act and the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act.
Akira, which has over 20 stores in the Chicagoland area, used third-party text‐messaging software to inform its customers of promotions, discounts, and in‐store special events. Customers could opt in to its “Text Club” by providing their cell phone numbers to Akira representatives inside stores, texting “Akira” to a number posted in stores, or filling out an “Opt In Card.”
Akira collected cell numbers for over 20,000 customers and between 2009 and 2011, sent some 60 text messages advertising store promotions, parties, events, contests, sales, and giveaways to those customers, including Nicole B.
Nicole alleged that Akira violated TCPA’s prohibition against using an automatic telephone dialing system to make calls without the prior express consent of the recipient. The suit sought $1,500 for each of the 1.2 million texts sent, for a total of over $1.8 billion in statutory damages.
Summary judgment was granted on the trial court’s determination that Akira and its software provider had not used an autodialer to send the messages because human involvement was required in the platform’s text message transmission process. Continue reading ›