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Keller Rohrback Investigates Unsolicited Loyalty Texts from Square, Inc.
September 27, 2017
Have you made any credit card purchases that were processed using the Square Reader mobile payment system? Are you annoyed by the unsolicited text messages you received after those credit card purchases? If so,.
Keller Rohrback is investigating reports that consumers have started to receive unsolicited text messages from retailers who use the Square Reader, a device—usually white—attached to smartphones or tablets that customers run their credit cards through during the checkout process. Frequently these text messages are for “loyalty” programs that the consumer did not sign up for. The messages often state: “Welcome to our Loyalty Program!” or “You just earned X loyalty points!”
If you did not provide the retailer with your phone number for such a purpose at the time of your credit card purchase, it’s possible you’ve been receiving text messages that may violate state and/or federal law.
Square, Inc. Payment Processing
Very few people pay in cash anymore, and retailers have adjusted, accepting most major credit and debit cards, as well as alternative forms of electronic payment. Many retailers—especially retailers that make money off repeat business—have turned to Square to handle their credit card transactions using the Square Reader. The devices are commonly used by coffee shops, small businesses, food trucks and others.
In order to distinguish itself from its competitors, Square provides many benefits and features to its client-retailers. One benefit Square emphasizes is its ability to help retailers use customer information and data to drive repeat business with marketing features such as Square’s “loyalty” program. Square’s loyalty program allows retailers to send customers “loyalty” texts whenever they spend a certain amount of money at the retailer, offering rewards to incentivize repeat business. Square’s efforts at distinguishing itself have paid off, with Square processing $49 billion in gross payment volume in 2016.
Here’s how Square’s loyalty text program works:
Step 1: You make a purchase at a retailer who uses the Square Reader system, pay with your credit card and request a receipt via text message, which Square sends you shortly thereafter.
Step 2: Square retains your credit card information and phone number in its database.
Step 3: You make another purchase at a different Square client-retailer, using the same credit card, without necessarily asking for a receipt.
Step 4: If that client-retailer has turned on Square’s loyalty program, you automatically receive a text message telling you that you’ve earned X number of loyalty points in that retailer’s loyalty program.
What makes this practice possibly a violation of the law?
When you ask for a receipt at the point of purchase, you are not consenting to receive unsolicited texts or advertising—which is what loyalty texts are—from a different retailer and/or Square. Every unsolicited text you receive from one of Square’s clients for its loyalty programs is a potential violation of federal law, each instance carries a $500 or $1500 fine depending on how much Square really knows about its practices.
If you, or someone you know has made a credit card purchase that used the Square Reader, and you have since then, received annoying loyalty texts from Square and/or Square’s client retailers, please contact attorneys Mark Griffin or Karin Swope at 800.776.6044 or .
Keller Rohrback L.L.P. serves as lead and co-lead counsel in class action lawsuits throughout the country, including actions asserting consumer protection claims for unfair and/or deceptive telemarketing practices. With offices in New York, Seattle, Phoenix, Ronan, Oakland and Santa Barbara, our Complex Litigation Group is proud to offer its expertise to clients nationwide. Our trial lawyers have obtained judgments and settlements on behalf of clients in excess of $18 billion dollars.
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