Jose Roque makes his living on the phone, so an unwanted barrage of text message solicitations is bad for business.
But the consultant’s cell phone is constantly being flooded with the “we buy junk cars” text messages that everyone seems to get, all the time.
“You can’t even sleep,” Roque said. “I made it a point to shut off my phone. Usually I would leave it on at night in case of emergency, but not anymore.”
Hallandale Beach attorney Scott Owens said one man has received as many as 3,500 of the illegal text messages. Owens has a filed a class-action lawsuit in federal court in Broward County against three men he says are responsible for bombarding cell phones with the spam junk car texts.
“This particular text message has become a blight upon Florida consumers, it’s being sent at all hours of the day, sent in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, and quite frankly, it’s annoying the heck out of most Floridians,” Owens said.
Owens said the law provides a $500 penalty for every illegal text message. He said the junk car guys are certainly making money, as the scrap metal from a car is worth much more than the 400 bucks they typically offer.
Only one of the defendants has been served with the suit. Owens said he hasn’t yet found the other two men who he says the phone numbers come back to in the junk car messages.
Asked what he hoped to accomplish with the lawsuit, Owens responded, “Well, the first goal is to stop the messages.”
He is handling the case pro bono and says if there is a settlement, he will donate it to charity.
Roque joined the lawsuit as a plaintiff to get some relief. He says he’s tried calling the numbers and asking them to stop.
“They were insinuating that I had a car for sale, trying to hide how they got my number, and I said look, my car’s not for sale, I don’t have a junk car, I’m not interested – and don’t call me anymore but they kept on texting, texting, texting,” he said.