California Stores Face Big Lawsuits After ZIP Code Ruling
By Matt O’Donnell
California stores may face a surge of class action lawsuits in the wake of the California Supreme Court’s ruling that it’s illegal for store clerks to ask customers for their ZIP codes during credit card transactions.
The high court unanimously ruled last week in Pineda v. Williams-Sonoma that ZIP codes are part of customers’ addresses and considered “personal identification information” under the California Song-Beverly Credit Card Act of 1971. The state consumer privacy law forbids stores from requesting addresses and other personally identifying information during credit card transactions. The law imposes a civil penalty of up to $250 for the first violation and up to $1,000 for each subsequent violation.
The Supreme Court’s ruling has reportedly set of a flurry of class action lawsuits, with the majority of lawsuits being filed in San Francisco or Los Angeles courts. Williams-Sonoma, Wal-Mart, Target, Macy’s and Cost Plus are just some of the more than a dozen national retail chains hit with class action lawsuits for allegedly requesting ZIP code information during the past year.
The staff here at Top Class Actions has reported on at least three class action lawsuits reached in the past year with businesses that have violated the California law. Home Consignment Center, Metropark and La Valencia Hotel all reached credit card settlements in 2010 for requiring credit card customers to submit their personal identification information in order to make a payment.
Updated February 18th, 2011
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