Mobile marketing provider EZ Texting has filed a lawsuit against T-Mobile after the carrier blocked all SMS messages originating from the company.
The lawsuit stems from a relationship between EZ Texting and WeedMaps.com, a website dedicated to helping users find legal medical marijuana dispensaries in California. WeedMaps.com had partnered with EZ Texting to distribute opt-in SMS messages to users of its site. EZ was notified by its aggregators that T-Mobile began blocking its short code about a week ago. Even though EZ Texting had ended its business relationship with WeedMaps.com, T-Mobile continued to block its short code.
In its suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, EZ says being blocked from T-Mobile puts its business in serious jeopardy since it can’t remain competitive. “A client would select another provider that can offer access to all the major carriers,” said Shane Neman, CEO of EZ Texting. “The fact is T-Mobile put my business in jeopardy without any warning, without any justification, and without any appeal,” he said. “It’s like the Wild West out there. You don’t know what the rules are.”
We’ve reached out to T-Mobile for comment and at this point it’s still unclear if the carrier was justified in its actions. Other variables may exist and additional information will surely surface as litigation continues. Public Knowledge, a Washington DC-based public interest group, was quick to publish a blog post on the subject, drawing attention to a three year-old petition asking the FCC to prohibit mobile carriers from blocking text messages.
In the post, Gigi B. Sohn, president and co-founder of Public Knowledge, said: “This case is yet another example of a totally arbitrary decision by a carrier to block text message calls between consumers and organizations they want to communicate with. The FCC should put a fast end to this blocking by issuing the ruling we asked them for three years ago. EZ Texting and other companies should be able to focus on growing their business rather than filing lawsuits to prevent blocking.”