Is JCPenney Giving Your Personal Info To Strangers?

Consumerist reader John is more than a little upset with JCPenney. He claims that the department store’s website is in such a state of disarray that shoppers’ sensitive, personal information is showing up in other shoppers’ accounts.

Here’s John’s story:

My wife was contacted by a complete stranger who was able to track her down because while she was shopping on JCPenney’s site, my wife’s information appeared in place of hers in her cart (including address, etc…). People are having items appear in their cart and having items ordered that they did not order, etc.. Because basically, JCPenney is having MAJOR trouble with people’s accounts, getting them mixed up, etc…

We’ve all tried calling customer service and we’ve all been told (by customer service managers) that “Yeah, there’s a problem and we’re looking into it.” That was days ago. They’re still showing people’s information to strangers, and that seems like negligence to me – especially since some people are being charged for things they didn’t buy, etc.

John also alleges that the problem is more widespread than just him and that the JCPenney Facebook page is deleting customer complaints. In response, he and his wife have set up their own Facebook community where people are starting to share their problems with the JCP site.

We’ve contacted JCPenney for comment on this complaint and will update accordingly if/when we hear anything back.


Edit Your Comment

  1. Hooray4Zoidberg says:

    This sounds like a classic server side cache issue. You try to improve site wide performance by caching some objects and accidentally end up returning the same user to a bunch of other users.

  2. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    I wouldn’t be comfortable shopping on the website anymore, so I would go through the account and completely remove all of your financial information. Then either remove your address or replace it with blatantly false information, like Mr. H. Potamus at 1000 Fake Address Avenue. When JC Penney accepts that data, at least other people aren’t seeing your name and address.

  3. Julia789 says:

    Isn’t the JC Penney shopping website run by (outsourced to) the same company that had other major problems in the past couple of years, reported on Consumerist? I don’t recall the name of the company that it was outsourced too.

    Or maybe I’m thinking of another website. J Crew and Kohls had a lot of website problems, too. Maybe I’m thinking of that one.

  4. A.Mercer says:

    I have seen database issues that can cause this. Well, mostly issues where tech people did something they should not have done. I saw a person do a SQL update and completely mess up the keys so that everyone had their data mixed together. I saw another person upload a spreadsheet into a table from behind the scenes and bypassed the database contraints and ended up with a similar situation.

    • jesusofcool says:

      As someone who works with an online retail system connected to a database, this whole thing is my nightmare.

      Also, it’s entirely possible that JCP contracts their online retail system to an outside vendor, and they may be the ones at fault for the screw up, though it seems JCP can certainly be blamed for mishandling the resulting complaints.

  5. NORMLgirl says:

    I am never ordering anything online from JC Penney again.

    I placed an order on Wednesday and then immediately called to cancel (that’s another story). The CS person said it had been canceled and that it was no problem to do so.
    They never sent any type of cancellation notice and I couldn’t log in to my account Wednesday or Thursday. I was finally able to log in today (Friday) and the order said it was pending shipment!

    I called, and waited for 5 minutes only to have the CS rep tell me that no cancellation had ever been made and that my order had shipped, my card charged, and there was nothing I could do about it.

    The thing that gets me is that they would not give me a cancellation code when I called to cancel and their current policy according to the last CS rep is that they don’t send cancellation emails either.

  6. quirkyrachel says:

    Their site totally nose dived on Monday. It took forever to load a single page, or even just click on a drop down menu. It finally sped up to normal in the afternoon, and when I looked in my cart, some of things that I’d added (after painful amounts of waiting) weren’t there, and stuff that I’d looked at but not added was there. I gave up and didn’t order.

  7. speeddaimon says:

    My guess, someone in declared something as static global in the web page. I did this once in an internal application.

  8. u1itn0w2day says:

    Be very carefull about joining any JCP clubs and forums or taking any JCP surverys because there’s frequently alot of fine print in those things that allow them to sell your information. It could be a programing or securtiy issue as well but even then by participating in anything other than the purchase of an item you risk loosing some privacy. This is not just JCP: many other stores and banks do the samething.

  9. incident man stole my avatar says:

    Just got a mail advertisement from JC Penny with my sister’s name. She hasn’t lived on the East Coast in 15 years and never at my house. And she doesn’t shop there either…..hmmm

  10. JANSCHOLL says:

    Had this happen a couple of times several years ago at and a smaller online shop and I informed Overstock and they told me to refresh the page and it would clear. Nope. Luckily I had not put my order thru. The person’s credit card info was there for all to see. I do all my shopping and banking online and always make sure its secure etc. But JCP is now set up for a class action lawsuit on this.

  11. BradenR says:

    Before Penneys was added to the boycott list for supporting ethnic cleansing, I did use their telephone ordering service. Then I was told they used prisoners for that task which made me very uncomfortable. Even those incarcerated for minor infraction could have outside contacts with whom I didn’t want my personal information shared.