A court has ordered arbitration in a case brought by a plaintiff who replied “S T O P” with spaces between each letter instead of “STOP” with no spaces, purportedly to opt out of text messages from the defendant. Johnson v. Whaleco, Inc., No. 5:23-cv-00403 (M.D. Fla. Sept. 27, 2023).
The court ordered arbitration because plaintiff had clearly consented to the terms and conditions, including binding arbitration, but her claim, on the merits, is not good as courts have rejected similar tactics using strange language to opt out when the texts sent to them clearly specify an easy means to opt out.
Here, the messages admittedly stated, “Reply STOP to cancel”. Even if plaintiff did not intentionally respond in a way designed to confuse an automated response, it seems unlikely that she could represent a class of people in a class action lawsuit who responded in such a way rather than the clearly-specified “STOP” with no spaces.