Robbie Hargett Aug. 13, 2015, 9:55am


LOS ANGELES (Legal Newsline) - Two Los Angeles County residents are suing Microsoft and HelloWorld, alleging unlawful text message marketing practices.

Edmund Pietzak, an account manager at a Los Angeles literary and talent agency, and Erin Hudson, a partner at an entertainment firm in Los Angeles, as individuals and for all those similarly situated, filed a class action lawsuit July 21 in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California against Microsoft Corp. and its marketing partner, HelloWorld Inc., alleging an unlawful bait-and-switch marketing scheme.

According to the complaint, Microsoft uses social media advertising to lure potential customers into divulging cellphone information. The advertisements provide a number for customers to text in order to be eligible for sweepstakes and discount promotions. The complaint alleges that texting the provided number enrolls the customer's cellphone in a campaign that spams the phone with up to 10 Microsoft advertisements per month using an automatic telephone dialing system and without the user's express written consent, in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

Pietzak and Hudson both allege that they were not aware that texting the number provided on Microsoft's social media advertisements would result in their not-consented-to enrollment in these cellphone spamming campaigns. Pietzak alleges that the unwanted ringing of his cellphone from messages received from these campaigns has caused him harm and embarrassment in his profession.

The claim also states that cellphone rings from spam advertisements during Hudson's business meetings have cause her embarrassment, financial loss, and emotional injury.

Pietzak, Hudson, and other class members seek actual and statutory damages, plus court costs. They are represented by Daniel P. Hipskind and Dorian S. Berger of Olavi Dunne LLP in Los Angeles, and by Matt Olavi and Brian J. Dunne of Olavi Dunne LLP in Austin, Texas.

U.S. District Court for the Central District of California case number 2:15-cv-05527-R-JEM.

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