Venkat Balasubramani has an update on a lawsuit against Toyota that was mentioned on this site in September 2009. At the time, my reaction to Toyota’s marketing campaign, created for them by Saatchi & Saatchi, was to wonder what the heck they were thinking. To describe the marketing ploy as a Very Very Bad Idea Gone Even More Horribly Wrong would be an understatement as what was seemingly intended to be a funny prank left a victim – the plaintiff in the lawsuit – feeling terrified and stalked.
In recent developments on the case, Venkat writes that the court has denied Toyota’s motion to compel arbitration. He writes:
Not only does the court reject defendants’ request to compel arbitration, the court nukes the entire set of contest terms.
The court says that Duick was duped as to the nature of the agreement:
A person in the role of player 2, such as Duick, could not access the terms and conditions without first clicking “Begin” on a webpage entitled “Personality Evaluation,” created by defendants. The terms and conditions themselves were entitled ‘Personality Evaluation Terms and Conditions.’ Defendants thereby led Duick to believe that she was going to participate in a personality evaluation and nothing more. In particular, a reasonable reader in Duick’s position would not have known that she was signing up to be the target of a prank.
Read more on Technology & Marketing Law Blog.