Stein Mart Settles Personal Data Breach By Offering… Coupons

Stein Mart was caught “printing expiration dates and/or more than the last five digits of credit cards on receipts,” and was subsequently hit with a class action lawsuit for exposing sensitive customer data. Now they’ve settled by agreeing to run coupons in local newspapers. It gets better: instead of a flat 20% off coupon, the store is requiring minimum-purchase amounts that reduce the savings if your purchase falls between the arbitrarily set thresholds.

  • $10 off a purchase of $50 or more
  • $20 off a purchase of $100 or more
  • $30 off a purchase of $150 or more

We need a new federal law that says class action lawyers have to be compensated in the same manner as their clients. Give those hard working guys and gals some $30-off coupons, please!

Stein Mart seems to think that when it comes to bad security, intention makes all the difference:

A representative for Stein Mart said the company is not aware that anyone’s identity was stolen and that the company was a month away from having all their printing procedures corrected.

If you’re really interested in those coupons, check out steinmartsettlement.com.

[WSMV Nashville] (Thanks to Martin!)
(Photo: Getty)

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. blue_duck says:

    *insert sarcasm here*

  2. Up to 20% off? Like the bottomless supply of Bed, Bath and Beyond coupons, but not as good?

  3. Ein2015 says:

    Wow… are they serious?

    Coupons?!

    Have there been any other companies that have done this? Don’t most just agree to give free protection to anybody that comes up with identity theft, etc etc?

  4. SkokieGuy says:

    Hmmn. This begs the question is intentional data breach the new viral marketing?

    Here’s how to do it:

    Pretend to have not safeguarded customer info. Leak info about breach. Offer a coupon. Get lots of publicity (remember even negative publicity is publicity) and distribute thousands of coupons that are only usable when purchases are made.

    Since giving the coupons is the ‘penalty’ for data breach, I would not be suprised if the coupon redemption is higher for these coupons. Customers will feel by redeeming them they are ‘punishing’ the merchant for the data breach.

  5. MissTicklebritches says:

    Chris:

    If the plaintiffs’ lawyers were working on a contingency basis, as they most likely were, they got paid NOTHING. Also, they had to run the settlement offer by the clients (class representatives in this case), so they okayed the deal. Please leave the lawyer bashing for laughs to hacks like Jay Leno.

    Thanks!

  6. I’m surprised they didn’t base the coupon amount off how much of your identity was stolen.

  7. blue_duck says:

    I like how they threw out there that they were just a month away from changing things anyway. Classy.

  8. SkokieGuy says:

    @Michael Belisle: Bed Bath & Beyond 20% postcards are the AOL free trial disks of the new millenium.

  9. blue_duck says:

    @Git Em SteveDave has a new Lego set: So what would 3 major credit cards under your name and social get ya? Just out of curiousity…

  10. B says:

    Stein Mart is where I buy all my steins. Beer steins, Ben Steins, uhhh, philistines.

  11. Roy Hobbs says:

    We need a new federal law that says class action lawyers have to be compensated in the same manner as their clients. Give those hard working guys and gals some $30-off coupons, please!

    I actually agree with this sentiment. For as many class action lawsuits as I’ve been a party to, simply by being a customer, I’ve never liked this “yeah, we’re giving you a coupon to buy more stuff” rather than cold hard cash.

  12. raisitup says:

    @MissTicklebritches: If the lawyers were on contingency and are not going to make money as you’re suggesting, how is it that any lawyers would take class action cases when quite often the award is non-cash?

  13. tom2133 says:

    Sorry about the data breach. Want some coupons so we can do it again?

    I would hope that customers don’t take these coupons and use them. It seems more like the company is getting “rewarded” for this stupidity by having customers shop with them.

  14. TheBusDriver says:

    @MissTicklebritches:
    They actually have a cash payment to the attorneys in the agreement. They get $150,000 cash. When class action attorneys have these kinds of results, they always have a payment of fees clause in the agreement.

  15. HeartBurnKid says:

    ProTIP: If you do use this coupon, PAY CASH. :)

  16. ajhirning says:

    The class action lawsuit against Stein Mart is one of hundreds against companies that are being prosecuted under the new identity theft protection laws. They printed on receipts in the month following the enacting of the legislation the last four numbers and the expiration date of the credit card. This practice is still followed by many merchants, and does not put the customer at risk. Considering that no one had their identity stolen because of Stein Mart’s actions, the coupons are fairly generous. Especially considering the prices at Stein Mart.

    (Disclaimer: I have worked at Stein Mart for two years)

  17. Ragman says:

    I thought something was already passed that required the lawyers to be comped the same as their clients??

  18. @SkokieGuy: Except that they’re not as much fun to put in the microwave. (I miss AOL CDs for this very reason.)

  19. RandomHookup says:

    @Ein2015:

    Coupons?!

    Have there been any other companies that have done this?

    How about a coupon for a truck? [query.nytimes.com]

    Northwest Airlines also did this and the coupons required a minimum ticket price before they could be used. I wish I still had them to sell on eBay.

  20. TheBusDriver says:

    @tom2133: That would be the harshest result – don’t use the coupons – not only will the company not be rewarded, but they HAVE to keep publishing until a certain dollar amount is reached in discounts given via the coupon – I think it was about $2,000,000.

  21. WraithSama says:

    @MissTicklebritches:
    @raisitup:

    From what I’ve seen, most class-action settlements that give a non-monetary award to the plaintiffs still include a monetary sum that goes to the lawyers.

  22. MissTicklebritches says:

    @raisitup: most plaintiffs’ cases, including class actions, are done on a contingency basis because most plaintiffs are individuals without deep pockets like corporations. People don’t go into lawsuits like this hoping for non-cash compensation.

  23. SkokieGuy says:

    @Michael Belisle: OMG – that’s so cool! Does it wreck your microwave? It’s sort of like an indoor Fourth of July party right in a convenient kitchen appliance!

    I guess I’m sheltered, I’ve only heard of microwaving peeps and that Barbie will catch fire if left in your toaster long enough.

  24. bravo369 says:

    don’t settlements still have to get approval from a judge? how could anyone think this was a good idea? basically everyone has to spend more money at a place they don’t trust in order to fulfill the terms of the settlement. how does that make sense to anyone

  25. @WraithSama: Plus they get a bonus if they don’t fall out of the chair laughing when they present the settlement.

    Seriously, discount coupons are just not cool as a settlement. As has been said above, being forced to go back to the company that screwed up in the first place doesn’t solve anything.

  26. SkokieGuy says:

    Haven’t the car companies (I’m thinking Ford Explorer – Slogan: Whoops we rollover!) having a settlement where you got a discount on another Ford product?

    Hi, we put your life in danger, so as penalty for our negligence, you have to buy another one of our vehicles or you get nothing.

  27. GreatCaesarsGhost says:

    @MissTicklebritches:
    Whenever there is a non-cash “compensation” the defendant pays the plaintiff’s “attorney fees.” To the tune of $150,000 in this case. (page 9-10, item 17)

  28. Inglix_the_Mad says:

    @raisitup: If the lawyers were on contingency and are not going to make money as you’re suggesting, how is it that any lawyers would take class action cases when quite often the award is non-cash?

    Coupon suits are annoying. You, the class, get s**t out of the deal. Great a coupon to spend more money at a place you likely hate anyway. They, the lawyers, get “expenses” plus money out of the deal directly. The simplest way to do this would be to take the top 100 people in a class and the lawyers can make no more than they do (added together). Expenses be damned. This does two things:

    1) Eliminates annoyance lawsuits

    2) Gives the lawyers an incentive to not take the coupon

    Corporate lawyers have it down to a science today, just like “plaintiff” lawyers. This is a form of tort reform.

    @bravo369: don’t settlements still have to get approval from a judge? how could anyone think this was a good idea? basically everyone has to spend more money at a place they don’t trust in order to fulfill the terms of the settlement. how does that make sense to anyone

    You think the judges care? Since when was the client the actual cause here? They go by what the lawyers agree to because they “represent” their clients.

  29. GreatCaesarsGhost says:

    @bravo369:
    The “plantiffs” have agreed to this through “their” attorneys. Get it? Since the attorney’s get theirs, and the injuried really don’t care (at least en masse) these lawyers keep fleecing us. It’s an absolute con we should all work to make illegal.

  30. SkokieGuy says:

    Loser pays also could reduce nusiance lawsuits. Isn’t that the standard in a lot of other countries?

  31. Ragman says:

    @ajhirning: “They printed on receipts in the month following the enacting of the legislation the last four numbers and the expiration date of the credit card. This practice is still followed by many merchants, and does not put the customer at risk.”

    Most don’t put the exp date on receipts, which is a good thing.

  32. @SkokieGuy: Nah, just take it out before the plastic starts on fire. I’ve never tried peeps. Please wait while I update my list of things to try…

  33. MeOhMy says:

    @Inglix_the_Mad: You, the class, get s**t out of the deal. Great a coupon to spend more money at a place you likely hate anyway. They, the lawyers, get “expenses” plus money out of the deal directly.

    Oh and let’s not forget that the defendant pretty much always “admits no wrongdoing.”

    Next time I get a settlement notice that applies to me, I think I’m going to file an objection.

  34. bobbleheadr says:

    @Troy F.: The GTA Hot Coffee Mod lawsuit wound up only paying a tiny percentage to the “offended” class (cause really, who cared) but the lawyers took a huge payday. I know a number of class members objected, not to get more money, but to cut attorney’s fees.

    Check out overlawyered.com sometime.

  35. Marshfield says:

    I’ve been party to a number of class action lawsuits over the years and in 95% of them the benefit was trivial to non-existant. My Packard Bell computer was made with recycled parts, so I got to extend my warranty –with a $25.00 flat fee for every service call!

    The attorneys in that one were collecting minimum $300,000 plus expenses.

    The only class suit I ever did OK on was the LP Siding suit, we got enough money to replace all the siding on 3 sides of our house, and by doing the work myself we had enough left over for a trip to Disneyworld.

  36. bohemian says:

    I’m still waiting for something, anything out of the TJMaxx class action after they lost my card info. Last I heard they wanted to give coupons too. No thanks.

    They need to make coupons no treated as having any value in relation to compensation either directly with the consumer or in a class action.

  37. rellog says:

    @bobbleheadr: I’m all for limiting lawyers’ fees and regulating to some extent class-actions, but your link is complete crap and simply more big business propaganda. I think it’s pretty clear your take on consumer rights…

  38. ShadowFalls says:

    It is just sad how this is actually considered compensation. “Sorry, we screwed up and are paying the consequences by having you give us more opportunities to screw up again.”

    If you had a bad deal with a company, why would you really agree to something that makes you deal with them again?

  39. Catalyst says:

    So, you want to divide the $150,000 amongst every single person that shopped at any Stein Mart for over a month? Enjoy cashing your twelve cent check.

    Good God. The amount of lawyer bashing on a pro-consumer blog is ridiculous. Half of the comments to posts about something bad happening to someone is “sue the bastards!” Then, we get this and it’s “kill the lawyers!” Pick a side, because you can’t have it both ways. Tort reform is just the way big business can get away with screwing you even more, disguised as a way to “take down trial lawyers.” $150,000 for who knows how many lawyers, for probably an ungodly amount of hours, works out to a pay cut for most lawyers.

  40. mrwilson says:

    The Class Action Fairness Act, enacted in February 2005, requires most nationwide class action cases to be filed in federal court. It also requires that for any settlement involving coupons, the plaintiffs’ lawyers may only base their fees on the amount of coupons actually redeemed – not the total face value. This has, predictably and laudably, resulted in far fewer coupon settlements in nationwide class actions. That said, this is a nationwide case in federal court, so I’m not sure what the story is with how they’re getting away with the $150K flat attorney fees – it may be because the settlement requires Stein Mart to continue to offer the coupons until about $2.2 million in actual discounts have been redeemed by consumers. Note that this settlement has not been finally approved, and that the fairness hearing is in September.