U.S. mobile provider T-Mobile is being sued after blocking text messages sent by company Ez Texting on behalf of a medical marijuana website. Ez Texting is alleging that T-Mobile blocked the short code 313131 (come on, not 420420?) that is affiliated with website WeedMaps.com. WeedMaps is “a community where medical marijuana patients connect with other patients in their geographic region to freely discuss and review local cannabis co-operatives, dispensaries, medical doctors and delivery services.” Which, for those living under a rock, is all nice and legal in California.
“We were told that T-Mobile didn’t approve of the Web site, which is totally legal,” said Ez Texting’s CEO. “But we feel this is illegal blocking and that consumers have the right to send and receive any text message of their choosing.” Ez Texting’s motion for early relief was denied and a court date of September 30th has been set. T-Mobile is calling the claims made by the lawsuit “meritless.”
UPDATE: T-Mobile pinged us with this official statement:
T-Mobile believes that the recent complaint filed by EZ Texting is without merit; and we are pleased that last Friday, September 17, 2010, the court rejected EZ Texting’s motion for early relief. Though T-Mobile doesn’t typically comment on pending litigation, we believe it is important to clear up some of the confusion generated by EZ Texting’s allegations. Each carrier has a process to ensure that content providers like EZ Texting follow the Mobile Marketing Association’s U.S. Consumer Best Practices Guidelines for Cross-Carrier Mobile Content Programs, as well as other regulations applicable to the mobile content business. When T-Mobile discovered that EZ Texting had not followed this process for WeedMaps – the text messaging service at issue in the lawsuit – we turned off the short code that EZ Texting was using for these services. The content of the WeedMaps service simply had nothing to do with T-Mobile’s decision.
UPDATE 2: Ez Texting has provided there official statement as well:
T-Mobile’s statement is inconsistent with the reasons that were communicated to Ez Texting when T-Mobile began its unlawful blocking.
T-Mobile admits that it is blocking all text messages exchanged between its customers and Ez Texting’s customers. T-Mobile now claims that it is blocking Ez Texting because we didn’t follow some unidentified “process” to T-Mobile’s private satisfaction. In any event, T-Mobile’s reason for blocking Ez Texting is irrelevant as T-Mobile has no right to block Ez Texting in the first place. One thing is for sure, however, T-Mobile has never stated that any of its customers have ever complained about text messages from Ez Texting. That’s because T-Mobile’s customers want to exchange text messages with Ez Texting’s customers. Consumers have a right to exchange text messages with whomever they like, just like any other type of call.
Ez Texting has reached out to T-Mobile to resolve this blocking amicably, but since the blocking started, T-Mobile has refused to communicate with Ez Texting. Unfortunately, then, Ez Texting can only vindicate its rights through the judicial process, which the court has agreed to hear on an accelerated basis. T-Mobile has been ordered to respond to Ez Texting’s complaint by Wednesday, September 22, 2010. Ez Texting will reply on Friday, September 24, 2010, and a hearing is set for Thursday, September 30, 2010.