Jiffy Lube Caught Spamming Customers With Text Messages

It’s been reported that Jiffy Lube has been caught sending text messages to customers who hadn’t opted-in to receive advertising.

Derek Johnson, CEO of Tatango, wrote a blog post recently explaining that he’d received over a dozen calls from people in the Seattle area complaining of random SMS messages sent by Jiffy Lube promoting a “1-time offer” for its “eClub” along with a 45% discount on an oil change service.  The campaign was sent nationwide to an unknown amount of recipients.

As Johnson points out, however, Jiffy Lube might not be 100% to blame for the mixup.  “While this definitely has hurt Jiffy Lube, I wouldn’t put all the blame on them,” he said in the post.  “The rules and regulations for text message advertising are extremely confusing and most big corporations work with an SMS provider to launch their campaign.  It looks like whoever Jiffy Lube was using gave them the wrong information and lead them down this destructive path.”

What most likely happened is that Jiffy Lube (or the service provider it chose to facilitate the campaign) used a process it thought was opt-in, when in reality it didn’t follow proper guidelines and best practices.  Unfortunately, this happens more often than it should.  Johnson goes on to give some examples of processes that seem like they might count as an SMS opt-ins, but fall short of explicit consent for specific campaigns.  Things like…

  • Dropping your business card in a fish bowl with your mobile phone number on it.
  • Giving your mobile phone number to a business when purchasing a product.
  • Leaving your phone number with a business to have them call you when they are done with a service.
  • Filling out any type of paper form that asks you for your mobile phone number. Even if they disclose that they will send you text messages in the future, it still doesn’t count. The reason… There is no safeguard in place for someone else to give the business your phone number.