A lawsuit against a Chattanooga-based payday lender accused of spamming Americans with unwanted text messages has received class-action status. Attorneys in Nevada pressed a civil suit against companies owned by Carey V. Brown, specifically Credit Payment Services, Leadpile, and the now-defunct MyCashNow.com website. Lawyers allege they violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act by spamming consumers with random text messages and offers for payday loans.
Consumer advocates say these types of loans trap users in a cycle of debt. The loans roll over and the fees pile up until they amount to much more than the original loan. Payday lenders counter that they provide a service for poor Americans who need help getting from one payday to the next.
In this case, the attorneys take issue with how Brown allegedly solicited customers. The companies are accused of using millions of robo-dial text messages that sometimes cost the recipients money to receive. The texts contained links that directed the recipients to websites controlled by Brown and others.
U.S. District Judge Andrew Gordon has denied two motions to dismiss the lawsuit and granted class certification to all individuals who received a spam text message from Dec. 5, 2011, through Jan. 11, 2012, from one of three specific telephone numbers.