Western Union will pay $8.5 million to settle alleged violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) when it sent consumers unsolicited text messages advertising an “opt-in” for receiving periodic automated updates concerning Western Union’s money and wire transfer services. Lead plaintiff, Jason Douglas, first received a text message from Western Union advertising its services in 2009. Douglas alleged in his complaint that Western Union used equipment capable of storing and randomly generating telephone numbers to send out these text messages. And while the text messages did ask the consumer to “opt-in” to receive future text messages, Douglas alleged in his complaint that he never consented to receive the first telemarketing text message.
Based on Western Union’s documentation, there are more than 800,000 potential class members who will be notified via e-mail and postcard, and thereby directed to a settlement website or a telephone line where they can make claims to their portion of the settlement. An individual will be considered a class member if they live in the U.S. and received at least one unsolicited text message between March 2012 and the date of the final approval of this agreement by Western Union. However, if all potential class members make a claim, each member would only receive $10.32. And this $10.32 amount is almost double the next highest amount-per-class-member from any court-approved TCPA settlement. Is that really enough?