Buffalo Bills pay $3M settlement for sending fans too many texts

A fan signs up for a text service from the NFL's Bills. The agreement says he'll get no more than five texts a week. When the team sends 13 in two weeks, the fan sues -- and wins.

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And now there's one more bill. Brian Welsh/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

If you ever decide to date a whole football team, the Buffalo Bills might not be your first choice.

It's not that they're not handsome men, full of the usual muscle and joie-de-vivre of footballers. It's that they might get a little clingy.

I base this observation solely on the results of a class action lawsuit brought against the Bills by a troubled fan.

As the Buffalo News reports, Jerry Wojcik loved his Bills so much that he signed up to have them send him text alerts. When it comes to the Buffalo Bills, exciting things happen all the time. Well, occasionally.

However, Wojcik's love had a limit. The agreement said he would get no more than five texts a week. However, in the second week after signing up, he got six texts. A few weeks later, he got seven.

When he counted 13 texts in a two-week period, he did what any loving American would do. He sued.

The suit, filed in 2012, said that he couldn't sleep because of this sudden overload of information. His mind had been so addled by Bills minutiae that he was constantly shivering in public, his teeth were chattering, his eyes rolling faster than a bowling ball tossed by a Bills defensive end.

He also found himself uttering spontaneous profanities directed at the New England Patriots while at dinner parties.

I'm sorry, I read that wrong. What his suit actually said was that the Bills' behavior was a violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. This law was created to protect real people against unwanted spam. Here, though, some might argue they were getting precisely the sorts of messages they wanted, but just a few too many.

Though the Bills surely found his arguments wide right, they have now settled for a sum of $3 million.

Before you leap up and rend your clothing at the idea of Wojcik being $3 million richer, might I offer you some detail?

$2.5 million will be paid to the approximately 39,750 people who signed up for the text alert service. This was a class action lawsuit, if not a classy action lawsuit.

The money will not be paid in cold, hard cash. Instead, the Bills will issue debit cards that can be used at the team store. This seems rather a nifty proposal, given that all the people so heinously affected were supposedly Bills fans, desperate for information about their team.

Wojcik himself will receive $5,000 for leading the class action.

I know that many of you are very strong in the area of math. You can see that there is a hefty sum left over.

So please hold hands and recite your 10-times table, as I tell you that the remaining $562,500 goes to Wojcik's lawyers.

 

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