Ikea Must Defend Itself in Consumer Class Action

     (CN) – A class can proceed with a lawsuit accusing Ikea of requesting and storing customers’ zip codes when making credit card purchases.
     Rita Medellin sued Ikea in February 2011 for violation of the Song-Beverly Credit Card Act after an Ikea cashier took her credit card and asked for her zip code. She gave it, believing the information was necessary for completing the transaction.
     Ikea claimed customers often voluntarily provided this information, so they could receive email promotions from Ikea or participate in the retailer’s rewards program.
     In certifying the class, U.S. District Judge William Hayes wrote, “The Song-Beverly Credit Card Act does not provide an exception allowing a retailer to request or require the cardholder to provide personal identification information as a condition of accepting a credit card payment when the individual has previously or subsequently provided any personal information to the retailer. Such an exception would contravene one of the purposes of the Song-Beverly Credit Card Act which is to prevent store clerks from obtaining customers’ personal identification information.”
     Hayes said the possibility of the class including customers who voluntarily gave their personal information to Ikea should not prevent the action from moving forward.
     Hayes further ruled that a class action would more effectively deal with the consumer privacy issue raised by Ikea’s practice of asking for customers’ zip codes than individual lawsuits. “Plaintiff has shown that common questions of law and fact predominate over other issues in this case on the grounds that Ikea’s uniform policy and practice of requesting personal identification information from customers during credit card transactions can be evaluated to determine if the Song-Beverly Credit Card Act was violated,” Hayes wrote.

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