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Timberland pays $7m to settle SMS spam lawsuit

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Outdoor gear firm Timberland has agreed to pay $7m to settle a text message spam class-action lawsuit in the US.

Recipients of unsolicited SMS messages punting the rappers' favourite stand to collect up to $150 in compensation from the fund, under the terms of a preliminary agreement. Timberland and e-commerce provider GSI were sued for violation of the US Telephone Consumer Protection Act in a class action suit spearheaded by law firm KamberEdelson.

Consumers pay to receive text messages in the US. Timberland has agreed to reimburse punters for the offending messages but maintains it did nothing wrong. Both Timberland and GSI blame the over-zealous marketing tactics of a third-party marketing firm, Airit2me, which failed to get the consent of recipients before distributing marketing pitches via mobile phone, Computerworld reports.

Timberland is yet to publically comment on the case, thought to be among the first of its kind. Previous legal actions in the area have involved mobile phone operators suing firms that sent unsolicited SMS marketing pitches on the behalf of mobile subscribers.

Punters who received the messages are invited to file a claim (before a February 2009 deadline) but any payout will only occur if and when a judge approves the settlement. A hearing on the case at the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois is due to take place on 18 December. ®

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