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Sunday, July 14, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Your ZIP Code Is Your Own Business, Court Says

(CN) - California businesses cannot ask customers for their ZIP codes, the state Supreme Court ruled.

Jessica Pineda sued Williams-Sonoma over an incident that took place at the company's home-furnishings and cookware store in 2008.

Pineda claimed that the company used her ZIP code and credit card information to add her to its mailing list for marketing purposes.

The trial court and state court of appeals ruled in favor of Williams-Sonoma, deciding that a ZIP code does not constitute "personal identifying information" as defined by the Song-Beverly Credit Card Act of 1971.

But the California Supreme Court overturned the decision on Thursday, finding that ZIP codes are personal identifying information under the act since they are part of addresses, which is named in the law.

"When one addresses a letter to another person, a ZIP code is always included," Justice Carlos Moreno wrote on behalf the court. "Otherwise, a business could ask not just for the cardholder's ZIP code, but also for the cardholder's street and city in addition to the ZIP code, so long as it did not also ask for the house number."

The court remanded the case for further proceedings.

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