Apple Sued for Collecting Customers’ Zip Codes in Massachusetts

apple store logoApple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is being sued by three customers that claim that the Apple Store’s requirement that customers provide their zip codes for credit card transactions is a violation of a Massachusetts law, reports Apple Insider.  According to the filed complaint, Apple’s policy violates a law that prohibits companies from collecting “personal identification information,” or PII.

Specifically, the law states: “No person, firm, partnership, corporation or other business entity that accepts a credit card for a business transaction shall write, cause to be written or require that a credit card holder write personal identification information, not required by the credit card issuer, on the credit card transaction form. Personal identification information shall include, but not be limited to, a credit card holder’s address or telephone.”

According to the filed complaint, “Apple would not allow Plaintiff to complete their purchases without supplying such information.” The three plaintiffs alleged that Apple has continued to store their PII in its database and has even profited from this data by selling it to third parties.

The plaintiffs cited Apple’s own privacy policy as evidence that Apple is selling their PII to other companies. “At times Apple may make certain personal information available to strategic partners that work with Apple to provide products and services, or that help Apple market to customers,” stated Apple in its privacy policy. The plaintiffs also claimed that “they have received unwanted marketing materials from Apple as a result of having provided their zip codes.”

The filed complaint noted that the plaintiffs sought an out-of-court settlement with Apple before filing their lawsuit. The plaintiffs were originally seeking $25 in statutory damages for each violation, as well as “injunctive relief; and reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs.” As noted in the lawsuit, Apple rejected the settlement offer.

Now the plaintiffs are seeking “double or treble damages” due to Apple’s “bad faith violations.” The plaintiffs are also seeking class action certification based on the large number of customers that were compelled to give their zip codes to Apple. Besides damages and attorneys’ fees, the plaintiffs are also asking the court to declare Apple’s actions illegal and force it to stop requiring customers to give their zip codes when making credit card purchases in Massachusetts.

This is not the first time that Apple has been sued for allegedly violating customers’ privacy. Last year a judge dismissed a lawsuit brought against Apple in California that accused the company of knowingly violating consumers’ privacy by designing iOS in such a way that apps could track users and collect their personal information. Apple has not yet responded to the most recent lawsuit.

Here’s how Apple traded on Friday.

502

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