Last week, the D.C. Circuit heard oral argument in the lawsuit filed against Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie over their collection of customer ZIP codes at the point of sale. The plaintiffs alleged that the practice of requesting ZIP codes at the point of sale during credit card transactions violated two D.C. statutes, the Consumer Protection (“DCCPPA”) and Consumer Identification Information (“CII”) Acts. Their complaint ultimately was dismissed at the trial court level, and they appealed. At oral argument on appeal, the plaintiffs urged the court to interpret the statutes broadly, and specifically, to consider ZIP codes an “address” within the meaning of the CII Act. This argument had been rejected by the trial court, and the appeals court questioned how a ZIP code could be considered an address when the retailers would be unable to identify from that information alone the exact location of a consumer’s home.
Before the trial court ruled, the CII Act was compared by some to California’s Song-Beverly Act, which has been used to sue some companies that collect personally identifiable information from customers at the point of sale. Massachusetts has a similar statute, which we discussed here.