Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Privacy The Almighty Buck The Courts Your Rights Online

Court Says California Stores Can't Ask Customers For ZIP Codes 461

Posted by timothy
from the mine-was-just-a-bunch-of-sixes-anyhow dept.
Hugh Pickens writes writes "CNN reports that the California Supreme Court has ruled that retailers in California don't have the right to ask customers for their ZIP code while completing credit card transactions, saying that doing so violates a cardholders' right to protect his or her personal information, pointing to a 1971 state law that prohibits businesses from asking credit cardholders for 'personal identification information' that could be used to track them down. 'The legislature intended to provide robust consumer protections by prohibiting retailers from soliciting and recording information about the cardholder that is unnecessary to the credit card transaction,' the decision states. 'We hold that personal identification information ... includes the cardholder's ZIP code.' In her lawsuit, Jessica Pineda claimed that a cashier at Williams-Sonoma had asked for her ZIP code during a purchase — information that was recorded and later used, along with her name, to figure out her home address by tapping a database that the company uses to market products to customers and sell its compiled consumer information to other businesses."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Court Says California Stores Can't Ask Customers For ZIP Codes

Comments Filter:
  • Worse is (Score:5, Informative)

    by Beowulf_Boy (239340) on Thursday February 10, 2011 @11:28PM (#35170508)

    Worse is O'Reilly auto parts. They want your name, address and phone number.
    They told me it was for "warranty information". I was buying a quart of oil.

    I walked out and went and bought it at Walmart instead.

  • by crankyspice (63953) on Thursday February 10, 2011 @11:30PM (#35170520)

    The law provides for the collection of personally identifying information that's necessary for the transaction. Online, this includes the billing zip code. This ruling apples to card-present retail transactions. FYI. Here's the entire decision: http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/opinions/documents/S178241.PDF [ca.gov]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 10, 2011 @11:41PM (#35170586)

    The law provides for the collection of personally identifying information that's necessary for the transaction. Online, this includes the billing zip code. This ruling apples to card-present retail transactions. FYI. Here's the entire decision: http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/opinions/documents/S178241.PDF [ca.gov]

    Except the billing zip code happens to be a very important (though not the only) piece of AVS (Address Verification System), which is used to combat fraud. In a nutshell, the merchant submits the customer's address along with their card info, and (depending on the merchant's arrangement) the credit card processor checks to make sure certain parts of that address match what's associated with that card number. Zip code happens to be one of the most reliable.

  • No, no they do not.. (Score:5, Informative)

    by way2trivial (601132) on Thursday February 10, 2011 @11:44PM (#35170608) Homepage Journal

    read an actual merchant agreement some time
    (the one between the business and visa)

    merchants are FORBIDDEN to ask for ID as a condition of using a credit card...

    if the signature is good, and the card is present, you may NOT ask for ID just because its a credit card.

    if you require ID of all purchasers say, for a hotel, you can ask for ID.. but not just because it is a credit card.....

    doing so violates CC agreements.

    (merchants aren't even supposed to accept cards that say CID or SEE ID)

    if it is UNSIGNED, we are to request ID, then get the card holder to sign the card before accepting.

    (I have a merchant agreement, I've read it, and I've read the merchant operations PDF's at the major sites)

  • by RoFLKOPTr (1294290) on Thursday February 10, 2011 @11:57PM (#35170696)

    Do they? Why should they? The transaction is between the merchant and the credit card company.

    You are exactly wrong. If a fraudulent purchase is made with a credit card and it is recognized and reversed, it is the merchant that takes the hit. Not the bank, not the customer, the merchant. They charge back the merchant the full amount of the purchase and then it is primarily up to the merchant to identify the suspect and prosecute the theft.

  • Re:FINALLY... (Score:5, Informative)

    by fluffy99 (870997) on Friday February 11, 2011 @01:30AM (#35171098)

    For instance, one can request a customer's driver's license to verify his or her identity.

    They can ask, but not require it for most credit cards. Some Credit Card agreements actually prohibit the merchant from asking to see ID.
    http://www.privacyrights.org/ar/Alert-FS15.htm [privacyrights.org]

  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Friday February 11, 2011 @05:05AM (#35171870) Journal

    It is not illegal in California for a retailer to see a person's ZIP code or address, the ruling notes: For instance, one can request a customer's driver's license to verify his or her identity. What makes it wrong is when a business records that information, according to the ruling, especially when the practice is "unnecessary to the sales transaction."

    So, ASKING for the zip code itself was not wrong, using it for marketing was the wrong bit. Had they kept the zip purely for the transaction (as proof for later challenges making it necessary for the sales transaction) and NOT used it for marketing, then everything would have been okay.

    Once again, slashdot fails to read the full article and jumps all over the place with its conclusions.

    The company would have been just as wrong if they had used their credit card information they get back from the CC company for marketing purposes. This is about using information from one set of data in another set of data without permission being given.

    And it is ALSO okay for shops to ask you for your zip code for marketing purposes as long as it is clear that is what it is for. You can just say no. In Holland at least companies put up a sign telling you what the request is for.

  • by cvtan (752695) on Friday February 11, 2011 @08:37AM (#35173044)
    The first time this happened to me I was driving in Hawaii and the pump asked for a zip code. I didn't know what zip code they wanted: residence in NY? gas station in Hawaii? credit card billing address? Transaction was blocked until I put in the right one (billing address).
  • When I am forced to give my zip at a terminal, I ALWAYS hit random numbers. My card has never been refused.

    Mine was, just the other day. After I put my real ZIP code in, the transaction went through. It could be that the first number I put in was an invalid ZIP code entirely. I'll have to test that next time ... before I start shopping for a new place to buy gas.

If a 6600 used paper tape instead of core memory, it would use up tape at about 30 miles/second. -- Grishman, Assembly Language Programming

Working...