Not All Popcorn and Skittles in Theater Biz: AMC Chain Accused of Text Spam Violations

Not All Popcorn and Skittles in Theater Biz AMC Chain Accused of Text Spam ViolationsAre consumers giving out their phone numbers in exchange for free popcorn or soda coupons — and then forgetting they did so? Or are companies abusing SMS capabilities and pestering people?

The answers to those questions may prove critical when Minnesota jurists consider a lawsuit in Minnesota lobbed at the AMC theater chain.

Andria Addison has alleged in a complaint just filed that AMC violated a federal text spam law. Addison is seeking class action status on the case.

“As part of their effort to promote business, defendants engaged in an especially aggressive and deleterious form of marketing: the transmission of unauthorized advertisements, in the form of ‘text message’ calls to the cellular telephones of consumers throughout the nation,” states the complaint, as reported by MediaPost.

Addison was upset when the chain sent her an unsolicited coupon via text in late April. The phone message may have been sent to all consumers enrolled in AMC’s “stubs” program. Addison admits she enrolled in “stubs” in 2012, but says she allowed her membership to lapse within a year.

“Her lawsuit alleges that transmitting the message violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which prohibits companies from using automated dialers to send text ads to consumers without their written permission,” notes MediaPost. “Addison also accuses the Leawood, Kansas-based theater chain of violating the anti-spam law with a mobile marketing campaign that involved offering consumers incentives — like a $1 soda coupon — in exchange for their cell phone numbers.”

SMS efforts have been under fire in recent years. Most firms say they do not rely on automated dialers, but work from generated lists of consumers who have agreed to receive notifications of various sorts.