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Inside Privacy Updates on Developments in Global Privacy & Data Security from Covington & Burling LLP

Bed Bath & Beyond Sued Over Zip Code Data

Posted in Litigation

As we previously blogged, in a case concerning retail chain Michaels Stores, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts (SJC) recently issued a broad ruling regarding the circumstances in which consumers may sue for collection of zip code information during credit card transactions under Massachusetts law.  Two separate putative class actions now have been filed under the same legal theory against Bed Bath & Beyond.

In its recent ruling, the SJC held that (1) a ZIP code is “personal identification information” within the meaning of the Massachusetts credit card privacy law; (2) a plaintiff may bring a lawsuit for a violation without showing identity fraud; and (3) “credit card transaction forms” could be construed to mean an in-store electronic form (e.g., a keypress form at the register).   The plaintiffs who have sued Bed Bath & Beyond claim that the housewares chain violates state law by collecting zip codes when customers make purchases by credit card at retail stores.   Both plaintiffs, one of whom was the named plaintiff in the case against Michaels Stores, filed in federal court in Massachusetts.