CA Supreme Court: Stores Can't Ask For ZIP Code When You Pay By Credit Card

If you live in California and you’ve ever been annoyed or concerned about giving out your ZIP code when making a credit card purchase, the state’s Supreme Court has issued a ruling that should appeal to you.

In a unanimous decision, the court said ZIP codes are “personal identification information,” which, per existing state law, businesses are forbidden from demanding.

From the L.A. Times:

The class-action lawsuit against Williams-Sonoma Stores Inc. was brought by a woman who contended that Williams-Sonoma asked her for her ZIP code when she purchased an item with her credit card. She said the store used her name and ZIP code to identify her address and then stored the information in a database for marketing. She also contended the store had the ability to sell her information to other businesses.

Two lower courts rejected the suit, but the California Supreme Court said a ZIP code was part of a person’s address and therefore covered by the state’s Credit Card Act.

“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,” wrote Justice Carlos R. Moreno.

California merchants may not ask customers using credit cards for their ZIP codes, state Supreme Court rules [L.A. Times]