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Tag Archives: zip code

California Court of Appeal Says Chevron Can Collect ZIP Code Information for Pay-at-the-Pump Transactions

On June 20, 2013, the California Court of Appeal affirmed the dismissal of a putative class action which alleged that Chevron violated California’s Song-Beverly Credit Card Act (“Song-Beverly”) by requiring California customers to enter ZIP codes in pay-at-the-pump gas station transactions in locations with a high risk of fraud. Flores v. Chevron U.S.A. Inc., No. … Continue Reading

New Jersey Legislature Amends Stored Value Card Abandonment Law

On June 29, 2012, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed into law legislation amending New Jersey's unclaimed property law relating to the escheat of abandoned stored value cards (SVCs) to the state. Under the original unclaimed property law, which took effect July 1, 2010, SVCs that were inactive for two years were presumed abandoned, and New Jersey required that the monetary value associated with the inactive cards be escheated to the state. Additionally, SVC issuers were required to (a) "obtain" the name and address of each card owner or purchaser, and (b) "at a minimum, maintain a record of the zip code of the owner or purchaser" of each SVC. Under the amended law, SVCs are presumed abandoned after five years of inactivity (as opposed to two years), and SVC issuers have a forty-eight month grace period before they are required to collect the names, addresses, and zip codes of SVC owners or purchasers. Issuers that do not collect purchasers' names and addresses in the normal course of business or during a card-registration process are exempted from collecting purchasers' names and addresses under the law, but they are still required to collect and maintain purchasers' zip codes. It should be noted that the unclaimed property law potentially conflicts with a separate New Jersey law protecting the personal information of credit card holders (N.J. Stat. § 56:11-17 (2012)). That law makes it unlawful for any person to require the disclosure of any personal identification information from a credit card holder that is not required to complete the transaction as a condition of allowing the card holder to use the credit card to complete the transaction. While we await the resolution of this potential conflict, courts may rule that no conflict exists: § 56:11-17 only addresses credit card use, but the state's unclaimed property law makes no distinction between payment methods (and, therefore, doesn't condition the use of a credit card on the collection of personal information). … Continue Reading

Massachusetts Federal Judge Says ZIP Code is Definitely Maybe “Personal Identification Information” . . . Implores Parties to Seek State Court Certification.

In an extension of the spate of litigation surrounding California's Song-Beverly Credit Card Act and other laws like it, the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts in Tyler v. Michaels Stores, Inc., Civ. No. 11-10920-WGY (D. Mass. Jan. 6, 2012), followed the California Supreme Court's lead in ruling that ZIP codes are "personal identification information" within the meaning of Mass. Gen. Laws, ch. 93, § 105(a). The court nonetheless dismissed the plaintiff's putative class action because she failed to allege any legally cognizable harm as a result of Michaels' collection of her ZIP code in connection with a credit card transaction. Retailers who were unhappy with the California Supreme Court's opinion in Pineda probably will not be any more pleased with the court's ZIP code reasoning here. But the result? You bet! … Continue Reading

ZIP-lined Out of Court: Williams-Sonoma Obtains Dismissal of New Jersey ZIP Code Collection Suit

On September 26, Judge William Walls of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey ruled that a putative class action lawsuit against home goods retailer Williams-Sonoma failed to state a claim under New Jersey law. In Feder v. Williams-Sonoma Stores, Inc., the plaintiff sought damages for purported violations of New Jersey's Truth-in-Consumer Contract, Warranty and Notice Act ("TCCWNA") after a Williams-Sonoma employee allegedly required the plaintiff to provide her zip code as part of a credit card transaction. The district court's decision supports what many people hope will continue to be the case, i.e., that it will be a challenge for plaintiffs' lawyers to successfully transplant the California Supreme Court's recent decision in Pineda v. Williams-Sonoma, Inc. (see our blog post here) into other jurisdictions. … Continue Reading

90210 Gets Personal: California Supreme Court Rules that ZIP Codes are “Personal Identification Information”

Yesterday, the California Supreme Court held that ZIP codes are "personal identification information" within the meaning of the state's Song Beverly Credit Card Act. The court's decision in Pineda v. Williams-Sonoma Stores, Inc., No. S178241 slip op. (Cal. Feb. 10, 2011), casts a dark cloud over the established retail practice of asking for ZIP codes when customers make brick-and-mortar purchases using a credit card and essentially reverses the Court of Appeal's decision in Party City Corp. v. Superior Court, 169 Cal. App. 4th 497 (2008). In addition to some heated debate, the Pineda decision is likely to generate a healthy number of lawsuits against California retailers. … Continue Reading
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