Hope Gamble sued New England Auto Finance, Inc. (NEAF) in federal court under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Ms. Gamble alleged that NEAF, from which she had previously borrowed money to buy a car, sent her text messages without her consent. NEAF moved to compel arbitration under an arbitration agreement contained within her loan agreement. That loan agreement also contained a Text Consent Provision that would have granted NEAF the right to send Ms. Gamble text messages, but this provision required a separate signature, and Ms. Gamble did not sign it. The district court found that the TCPA claim was not covered by the arbitration agreement and denied NEAF's motion.
On appeal, the NEAF argued that the arbitration agreement, which required arbitration of any "claim, dispute or controversy . . . whether preexisting, present or future, that in any way arises from or relates to this Agreement or the Motor Vehicle securing this Agreement," was broad enough to encompass the TCPA claim. The Eleventh Circuit rejected this argument, however, as the text messages in question did not involve her auto loan, which Ms. Gamble had paid off before the relevant text messages were sent. The NEAF further argued that the Text Consent Provision governed the issue of Ms. Gamble's consent to receive text messages, even though she had not signed that provision. Again, the Court disagreed, finding that Ms. Gamble's right not to receive text messages was created by Congress through the TCPA, not by any agreement with NEAF, and certainly not by the unsigned Text Consent Provision that, because it was unsigned, created no rights or obligations for anyone. Thus, the Court affirmed the denial of NEAF's motion to compel arbitration.
Gamble v. New England Auto Finance, Inc., No. 17-15343 (11th Cir. May 31, 2018)
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