New California ZIP Code Rule Results In Landslide of Lawsuits

It’s been less than a week since the California Supreme Court issued a ruling forbidding retailers from asking for your ZIP code when making a purchase. In that short time, more than a dozen different lawsuits have been filed against retailers as a result.

Among the many retailers being named in the suits are Walmart, Bed Bath & Beyond, Crate & Barrel and Victoria’s Secret, with more expected to come.

“A lot of the people we talked to felt very uncomfortable giving the ZIP Code but felt they had to,” One lawyer, part of a father-and-son team behind two of the suits, said. “They felt they were in the middle of a transaction and weren’t going to tell the sales clerk no.”

The Supreme Court’s ruling was triggered as part of an existing lawsuit by a California woman against Williams-Sonoma. That customer’s lawyer now says he has several more lawsuits ready to go against other major retailers.

“Customers are deceived into providing their information under the false pretense that it’s required to complete the credit card transaction,” the woman’s lawyer said. “Individuals don’t understand the scope of the information that they’re revealing. Most people don’t appreciate that their ZIP Codes combined with their names can be used to obtain very personal information about them.”

From the L.A. Times:

A spokeswoman for Limited Brands Inc., the parent company of Victoria’s Secret, said the company had stopped asking for customers’ ZIP Codes at least five years ago.

Wal-Mart spokeswoman Tiffany Moffatt said the discount giant was “reviewing the ruling now to determine its impact.”

Consumers sue retailers over ZIP Code queries [L.A. Times]