“It always struck us as annoying, but harmless enough: retailers asking for your ZIP Code at the tail end of a transaction.
But the California Supreme Court now tells us such a maneuver violates consumers’ privacy. In a ruling issued Thursday pitting a woman who made a purchase at Williams-Sonoma in 2008 and the retailer, the California Supreme Court unanimously ruled that Golden State retailers may no longer collect ZIP Codes from credit-card customers.
The Supreme Court determined that ZIP Codes were “personal identification information” that merchants can’t demand from customers under a state consumer privacy law. Merchants typically use ZIP Codes to determine where their customers live and for other marketing purposes.
The plaintiff in the case, Jessica Pineda, of Menlo Park, claimed that the store used her name and ZIP Code to identify her address and then stored the information in a database for later marketing. She also contended that he store had the ability to sell her information to other businesses.
Williams-Sonoma argued that ZIP Codes did not provide personal information because they pertained to a group, not an individual.
The high court rejected the retailer’s assertions. . .” WSJ has the full story.