iHeartMedia Chicago is being sued for an alleged advertising scandal. According to Cook County Record, iHeartMedia has been served with a class action lawsuit alleging it violated federal law when it replied to listeners’ song requests and other text messages with texts containing advertisements for online games, apps, convenience stores and other sponsors.
February 19, 2016, plaintiffs Nicholas Willis and Beth Shvarts filed suit in Cook County Circuit Court against iHeartMedia. The pending lawsuit was filed on behalf of the plaintiffs and potentially anyone else who may have sent text messages to iHeartMedia radio stations.
According to the complaint, iHeartMedia stations like WGCI, WVAZ, and WLIT have grown there advertising reach by interacting with listeners by way of their mobile phones, regularly asking listeners to text in song requests, enter contests and otherwise interact with their stations of choice.
The complaint alleged iHeartMedia would reply to the those aforementioned text messages with an advertisement for products or stores that were not affiliated with the iHeartMedia brand, which is violation of a federal telecommunications law if listeners are not warned or cautioned about these advertisements prior to sending texts.
“iHeartMedia’s invitation to sent text messages to these short codes essentially serves as a ‘back door’ method to acquire cellular telephone numbers and advertise iHeart Media’s sponsors’ products and services,” the complaint said.
It is on record that the plaintiffs asked the judge to expand the lawsuit to include other iHeartMedia listeners who received automated iHeart text replies containing advertisements since October 16, 2013.
The lawsuit is asking the court to order iHeartMedia to cough up an unspecified amount of dough in “actual and statutory damages,” plus attorney fees. Although I haven’t sent any text messages to iHeartMedia stations maybe I will today. LOL!