Is A ChatBot An ATDS?

Class Action Claims For Unsolicited Texts Sent To Scraped Numbers

McWilliams v. Business Texter
Class complaint – Business Texter allegedly sent unsolicited (ATDS) texts to plaintiff’s mobile. The texts were allegedly designed to mimic manual, human sent texts, but were actually (allegedly) initiated by an Artificial Intelligence SMS Chat Bot. Plaintiff described the exchange as follows:

  • Incoming text from xxx-xxx-6190: “Hello Stephen 🙂 Are you still in real estate?
  • Plaintiff reply: “Who is this?
  • Incoming text from xxx-xxx-6190: “This is Kelly with BizTexter. I found you on Zillow & hoped you wouldn’t mind me reaching out via text. 🙂 I can help you generate more leads & sales. Text me!
  • Plaintiff reply: “STOP
  • Incoming text from xxx-xxx-6190: “You have successfully been unsubscribed. You will not receive any more messages from this number. Reply START to resubscribe.

Plaintiff did not allege receipt of any further texts.

Plaintiff claimed he never provided his number to Business Texter, a number he believes Business Texter ‘scraped’ from Zillow.

UPDATE: 11Oct2017 – voluntarily dismissed (Doc#23) under an undisclosed settlement (Doc#19). Too bad – this could have been an interesting one…

[S.D. FL; 0:17-cv-61158]
jbho: I’ve not yet seen a TCPA case deal with a ChatBot. A new chapter in ATDS analysis? Stay tuned…

Note also, the complaint provides a nice short description of (concrete?) harms
• invasion of privacy
• wasted time addressing unwanted text messages
• distraction from work activities
• aggravation and distress
• unavailability of cell phone when receiving texts
• depletion of battery and the resulting cost to recharge phone
• potential financial loss in the form of increased charges from cell phone carrier


More TCPA Fun


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