A Michigan federal court upheld an arbitration clause found on a lead generation website, granting a defendant’s motion to dismiss a Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) case.
When Rocket Mortgage began texting Shirley in response to his inquiry, Shirley filed a lawsuit alleging that Rocket Mortgage violated the TCPA by texting his cellphone while his phone number was registered on the National Do Not Call Registry.
Rocket Mortgage responded by filing a motion to compel arbitration and dismiss the complaint, arguing that Shirley consented to receive the texts by submitting his contact information as part of his request for mortgage refinance information. As part of that submission, Rocket Mortgage argued that Shirley also agreed to arbitrate all claims against Rocket Mortgage and LMB.
U.S. District Court Judge Sean F. Cox agreed, finding the website provided reasonably conspicuous notice of the terms to which consumers will be bound and that Shirley took action that unambiguously manifested his assent to those terms.
Shirley argued that the website failed to provide adequate notice because the gray text was “dwarfed and overshadowed by the much larger colorful green button.”
To read the opinion and order in Shirley v. Rocket Mortgage, click here.
Why it matters: The court’s ruling provides important guidance for companies seeking to obtain agreement to their terms online, including arbitration agreements and class action waivers. The decision emphasizes the importance of distinguishing hyperlinks from the surrounding text with the use of a contrasting font color or all capital letters and providing a textual notice indicating unambiguous assent to the company’s terms. Companies that simply underscore their terms may have difficulty compelling arbitration in future disputes.