Payless Shoes sued over text messages

Don't Waste Your Money

A popular shoe store is the subject of a class action lawsuit,all because it wanted to tell its customers about upcomingsales.

The problem is the way its been alerting customers: Not by mailor email, but by text messages to phones.

A Momentary Lapse of Reason

Shana Kay normally guards her personal information. But whenshopping at Payless Shoesource, she tells me she wasn'tthinking, and gave her cell phone number to the checkout clerk.

Shana told me "I was checking out and they asked for my phoneand email address. And I said I didn't want to give my emailaddress cause i didn't want advertisements. But I did give my cellnumber."

She thought no harm could come out from sharing her cell number,until a strange text message showed up a few weeks later.

"It was just advertising telling me about a sale," she said.

But the catch: she had to pay for it, telling me "it said thatnormal message rates apply to the message.

Then she got more messages about more sales at Payless, eachrequiring her to pay a fee to "opt out" if she did not want toreceive an more. Shana instead emailed the company, which promisedto stop texting her, and sent her a $5 Gift Card.

Class Action Filed

But others have gone further: A california man recently filed aClass Action lawsuit against Payless, claiming its texting violatesfederal law prohibiting "wireless spam."

That case is pending. ( Clickhere to read more about it on

No More Phone Numbers

As for Shana, she says the episode taught her not to give outher phone phone or cell phone next time shes in a store.

She said "I'm not going to give my cell number at all.  I'mgoing to tell them I don't give out phone numbers."

A spokeswoman for Payless tells me the company doesn't commenton lawsuits. But she said customers are not required to give theirphone number. And she said the store does not sell or sharenumbers. (Read full statement below).

As always, don't waste your money. I'm John Matarese.


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Web Extra: Full Text of Payless Statement:

As a company policy, Payless doesn't comment on litigation in process, however, we'd like to provide background on our text offer program.

We build our list through customers expressly consenting to give their cell phone numbers at the point of sale in our stores, as well as customers texting in keywords as promoted in ads and other vehicles. Payless does not buy lists, nor do we sell our phone lists to others.

The Payless' text offer program follows a best practices model and involves a comprehensive process to ensure compliance with the law and, most importantly, the customers' desires. We give customers multiple channels and opportunities to opt-out of receiving text offer messages at any point in the ongoing program. We work with the cell phone carriers to ensure we are approved to send messages to their customers and all phone numbers are scrubbed against state and federal do not call lists and any identified phone numbers are eliminated accordingly.

Any customer wanting to opt-out of receiving our text offers can easily do so after the first offer received and with every subsequent offer delivered. There are a range of ways that a customer can opt-out of our text program, offering convenience including: online, at any store, sending a reply to any text message or calling a toll-free number. We remove numbers at customers' requests and stop sending the offers.


Our goal is to ensure that our customers are happy and that wecontinue to provide them information and offers in a manner thatthey choose


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