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Woman files class action suit against Victoria's Secret over texts

By Rhys Saunders | Oct 24, 2013

A Chicago woman has filed a class action lawsuit against Victoria’s Secret that alleges the lingerie giant sent several unsolicited and automated text messages to thousands of customers.

Sarah K. Dermody filed suit Oct. 21 in Chicago's federal court against both Victoria’s Secret and its parent company, Limited Brands Inc., over allegations that Victoria’s Secret violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), which prohibits the use of “autodialers” to make a call to any wireless number in the absence of an emergency or the prior express consent of the called party.

“Over the course of an extended period beginning in at least 2013, Defendants directed the mass transmission of wireless spam to the cell phone numbers in Illinois and throughout the United States in an unlawful effort to market their stores and promote the sale of goods sold at those stores,” the suit states.

Dermody filed the class action suit on behalf of an undetermined amount of co-plaintiffs.

“The members of the Class are so numerous and geographically dispersed throughout the United States such that joinder of all members is impracticable,” the suit states. “Plaintiff believes that there are at least several thousand persons in the Class.”

Dermody asserts that she received five unsolicited text messages from Victoria’s Secret between May 29 and Oct. 15.

“Unlike more conventional advertisements, wireless spam can actually cost its recipients money, because cell phone users must frequently pay their respective wireless service providers either for each text message call they receive or incur an usage allocation deduction to their text plan, regardless of whether or not the message is authorized,” the suit states.

The messages constitute violations of the TCPA, according to the suit, because it regulates the use of automatic telephone dialing equipment, and a text message falls within that category.

“According to findings by the Federal Communication Commission, the agency Congress vested with authority to issue regulations implementing the TCPA, such calls are prohibited because, as Congress found, automatic telephone calls (which include text messages) are a greater nuisance and invasion of privacy than live solicitation calls, and such calls can be costly and inconvenient,” the suit states. “The FCC also recognized that wireless customers are charged for incoming calls whether they pay in advance or after the minutes are used.”

Vermody is seeking $500 for each violation of the TCPA, and $1,500 for each “willful or knowing violation” of the act, according to the suit.

She is also seeking an injunction to force Victoria’s Secret to stop sending the automated messages, and to pay for the lawyer’s fees for everyone involved in the proposed class action suit.

Vermody is represented by Lake Forest attorney William Sweetnam.

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