Tag Archives: Credit card

Brooks Brothers Faces Privacy Class Action

Brooks Brothers Logo

Massachusetts law prohibits businesses from requesting and recording a customer’s personal identification when accepting payment by credit card.  Leonard Law Office, LLP and Bailey & Glasser, LLP are representing Massachusetts consumers in a privacy class action against Brooks Brothers, filed in August, 2013.

If you have received junk mailing from Brooks Brothers after using a credit/debit card at a retail location and providing Brooks Brothers with your zip code or home address, you are invited to contact us.

Brooks Brothers Newbury St

Brooks Brothers – Newbury St.

The Class Action Complaint alleges:

  • Brooks Brothers requests customers’ zip codes when they make a purchase using a credit card.
  • Brooks Brothers has a policy of automatically requesting a customer’s zip code in all credit or debit card transactions, and, if provided, recording the zip code electronically in connection with the transaction.
  • Brooks Brothers has a policy of using its customers’ zip codes, and information obtained from third party databases to send marketing materials to customers.
  • Brooks Brothers has a policy of sharing this information with other Brooks Brothers brands.
  • Brooks Brothers’ policies harm Massachusetts consumers by subjecting them to unwanted junk mail, and other marketing without their consent, and using customers’ personal information without their consent for its own business purposes. Continue reading
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Filed under Boston News, Class Action Lawsuits

Efax – A Company to be Wary of?

Some consumers have complained that efax makes it difficult to cancel after signing up for the efax free trial, and have been billed for monthly efax service, despite cancelling, or attempting to cancel.

ScreenHunter_12 Jul. 17 17.48

efax

Questions About Efax

Does efax intentionally make it difficult to cancel their service? Does efax continue to charge consumers and small businesses even though they have requested that the service and billing be discontinued?  Is the efax free trial essentially a scam that results in overbilling or bogus charges to credit cards?

efax free trial

efax free trial

Why is it so Hard to Cancel an efax Free 30 Day Trial?

Failed Efax Cancellation Attempt

Failed Efax Cancellation Attempt

Complaints About efax

The Internet is littered with complaints about efax billing practices:

Ripoffreport (92 complaints)

Continue reading

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Filed under Class Action Investigations

J. Crew Faces Privacy Class Action in Boston Federal Court (Settled Case)

Updates

July 25, 2014 – This case has settled. The official settlement website is www.millercrohnjcrewsettlement.com, where notices and claim forms can be found. Email notices went out on 7/25/14. The claim form can be downloaded here (pdf), or filled out and submitted online (recommended). The deadline to file a claim to receive a $20 J. Crew voucher is September 25, 2014.

If You Made a Credit Card Purchase at a J. Crew Massachusetts Retail Store Between June 20, 2009 and June 27, 2014, you could receive compensation from the Class Action Settlement.

This Settlement is for individuals who made a credit card purchase at one or more J. Crew retail stores in Massachusetts between June 20, 2009 and June 27, 2014 and whose Personal Identification Information (i.e. ZIP code or other information) was requested and recorded by J. Crew. The Settlement does not include purchases made online. Class Members will receive a voucher for $20 that may be redeemed at J. Crew retail stores in Massachusetts.

Miller v. J Crew Settlement Notice (front)

J. Crew Zip Code Settlement Notice (front)

 

Miller v. J. Crew - Settement Notice (reverse)

J. Crew Zip Code Settlement Notice (reverse)

The email notice is not a scam.

From: “Miller and Crohn J. Crew Settlement Administrator ” <Administrator@qgemail.com<mailto:Administrator@qgemail.com>>
Date: July 25, 2014 at 2:00:27 PM EDT
Subject: LEGAL NOTICE OF SETTLEMENT OF CLASS ACTION

________________________________
NOTICE OF PENDING CLASS ACTION AND NOTICE OF PROPOSED SETTLEMENT MILLER V. J. CREW GROUP, INC.
________________________________
If you engaged in a Credit Card transaction at a Massachusetts
J. Crew Store between June 20, 2009 and June 27, 2014 and your
Personal Identification Information (e.g., ZIP code) was requested and
recorded you may be entitled to receive a Voucher for $20 off your
next J. Crew Store purchase….etc.

June 30, 2013 – The Leonard Law Office is representing clients regarding credit card privacy claims against J. Crew. This class action alleges violations of Massachusetts privacy and consumer protection laws.

J crew

Information about the class action lawsuit against J. Crew

The complaint alleges that J. Crew collected ZIP codes at checkout at its Massachusetts stores from customers who made purchases with credit cards, recorded that information as part of credit card transactions, and then used that information for marketing  purposes, including to send unsolicited marketing and promotional materials, or “junk mail.”  The complaint further alleges that:

  • J. Crew does not collect, record, and use the customers’ ZIP code information in order to verify the customer’s identity or for any other legitimate purpose in connection with the Credit Card transaction.
  • J. Crew uses this information for its own marketing and promotional purposes. Possession of the consumer’s ZIP code information, together with the customer’s name, enables Defendant to identify the customer’s address and/or telephone number through the use of publicly available databases.
  • J. Crew uses the ZIP code information it collects from customers and the addresses and other information it then obtains, to send unsolicited marketing and promotional materials, or “junk mail,” to customers, including Plaintiff and Class members.
  • J. Crew also has the ability to sell the ZIP code information it collects from customers (including Plaintiff and Class members) and the addresses and other information it then obtains, to third parties for a profit or to use the information for other marketing and promotional purposes.

Information about the Class

The proposed class would consist of all persons whose ZIP codes were collected and recorded at any J. Crew retail location in Massachusetts while making Credit Card purchases during the period from June 20, 2009 through June 20, 2013.   The class has not yet been certified.  If you have questions about whether you may be involved, you are welcome to contact the Leonard Law Office.

Information about J. Crew

J. Crew is a privately-held corporation, organized under the laws of Delaware with a principal place of business at 770 Broadway, New York NY 10003.  J. Crew has sixteen retail locations in Massachusetts, three of which are factory outlets and the remainder of which are traditional retail stores.

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Filed under Class Action Lawsuits, Current Cases

Legal Discussion: Are debit/credit bank cards “credit cards” subject to the same privacy safeguards under Massachusetts Law?

There are a number of Massachusetts statutes governing the use and misuse of credit cards.  Most address criminal conduct, and unfair business practices. Some define the term “credit card.”  They were all enacted before debit/credit cards issued by banks became prevalent.  Case law indicates that these debit card amounts to the functional equivalent of a credit card.  This is important, because the Massachusetts credit card privacy law (G.L. c. 93, § 105) should also apply to debit cards.

CIVIL

G.L. c. 93 § 104 (definitions for § 105 Credit cards; checks; personal identification information)

  • “Credit Card”, any instrument or device, whether known as a credit card, credit plate, or by any other name, issued with or without fee by an issuer for the use of the card holder in obtaining money, goods, services, or anything else of value on credit. Credit card shall not include a check guarantee card.

G.L. c. 140D §1 (Consumer Credit Cost Disclsoure; definitions)

  • “Credit”, the right granted by a creditor to a debtor to defer payment of debt or to incur debt and defer its payment.
  • “Credit card”, any card, plate, coupon book, or other credit device existing for the purpose of obtaining money, property, labor, or services on credit.

CRIMINAL

G.L. c. 266 § 37A (Misuse of credit cards; definitions)

  • “Credit card”, any instrument or device, whether known as a credit card, credit plate, or by any other name, issued with or without fee by an issuer for the use of the cardholder in obtaining money, goods, services or anything else of value on credit.

G.L. c. 266 § 37C (Fraudulent use of credit cards to obtain money, goods or services; false embossment of credit cards, multiple possession, presumption; arrest)

G.L. c. 140D § 27  (Unauthorized use of credit cards)

CASE LAW

  • “a debit card fits within the ambit of a “credit card” as defined for purposes of G.L. c. 266, § 37C.  COMMONWEALTH v. RYAN, 79 Mass. App. Ct. 179, 183-186) (2011) .

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Fair Debt Collection in Massachusetts

Fair Debt Collection

The Massachusetts Attorney General‘s Debt Collection Regulations, 940 C.M.R. 7.00, prohibit many unfair debt collection practices by creditors, and regulations of the Massachusetts Division of Banks, 209 CMR 18.00, prohibit unfair debt collection practices by debt collection agencies.

Communication with Creditors and Collection Agencies

When communicating directly with you, creditors and collection agencies may not:

  • Call you at home more than twice for each debt in any seven-day period, or more than twice for each debt in any 30-day period at some place other than your home, such as your place of work.
  • Call you at work if you have requested that they not call. Your oral request that a collector not call you at work is valid for 10 days only. Written requests are valid until you write to the collector removing the restriction.
  • Call you without identifying both the name of the creditor and the name of the person calling. The caller may use a name other than his or her own, but the creditor or collection agency on whose behalf the call is being made must be able to identify that person.
  • Contact you directly, if you have told the creditor or collection agency you are represented by an attorney.
  • Use profane or obscene language.
  • Cause expense to you in the form of long distance calls, express mail charges, wire fees, or other similar charges.
  • Falsely threaten to take legal action that the creditor does not take or reasonably intend to take.
  • Tell anyone (including your friends, neighbors, relatives, or employers) about your debt, without your written consent.
  • Mail to you any printed or written materials that reveal or imply that you owe a debt (for example, by using a postcard to contact you or using a descriptive return address).
  • Solicit post-dated checks from you.
  • Visit your home at times other than your normal waking hours. A collector may not visit you more than once in any 30-day period for each debt, unless you give permission for additional visits.
  • Call you at times other than your normal waking hours. If your waking hours are unknown, then the collector may only call between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.
 Additional Rights

A creditor must allow you or your attorney to inspect any document on which the creditor is relying to prove that you owe the debt being collected, e.g., a credit card application, account statement, promissory note, ledger, account card, or similar record in the creditor’s possession, which reflects the date and amount of payments, credits and charges related to the debt. Failure to do so is an unfair or deceptive act or practice under the Attorney General’s Debt Collection Regulations, 940 CMR 7.08 pdf format of    940 CMR 7.00 Revised Clean PDF   .

Under State and Federal Law, if you want all debt collection contact to stop, and it is a debt collection agency (as opposed to the creditor itself) that is contacting you, you have the right to make a request in writing that all such contact stop ( 15 U.S.C. 1692c(c)209 CMR 18.14(3) ). Once you have made such a written request, the debt collection agency may not contact you again; however, the agency will still be permitted to sue you to try and collect the debt.

Locating a Debtor

Creditors and debt collection agencies are permitted to try to locate a debtor by contacting persons other than the debtor or persons residing in the debtor’s household, if the creditor or debt collection agency reasonably believes that it no longer has current information on the debtor’s location. However, it may not inform anyone it calls about your debt.

===============================================Source: Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, 2013, (http://www.mass.gov/ago/consumer-resources/consumer-information/credit-and-financial-literacy/consumer-credit/fair-debt-collection.html), last accessed 5/15/2013.

English: Sketch of Richard Mentor Johnson free...

Debtor’s Prison (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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“Zip Code Cases”

“Zip Code Cases” and why they are important 

Numerous class actions have been filed against retailers concerning improper data collection during checkout. These so-called “zip code cases” raise important privacy issues, and we will continue to push ahead with them.  Throughout America and Massachusetts, businesses collect an unprecedented volume of data about consumers and sometimes they do so unlawfully. Over twenty years ago, the Massachusetts legislature wanted consumers to have privacy and security when they use credit cards, and therefore limited what information merchants can collect. The implications of excessive data collection are for more troubling in this new era of “big data.” Today, the average consumer has little to no understanding of how their personal information is collected, scrutinized, cross-referenced, and monetized.  According to a FTC report (pdf) issued in May, 2014 “data brokers collect consumer data from numerous sources, largely without consumers’ knowledge.” Information harvested by retailers during credit card transactions is digital gold to data brokers.

Collecting ZIP codes at checkout is generally illegal in Massachusetts

A large number of retailers  have violated and continue to violate Massachusetts law by collecting ZIP codes from consumers who pay by credit card. When retailers go to data brokers such as Acxiom, Datalogix, CoreLogic, Trillium, or Pitney Bowes,  they can learn their customers’ mailing addresses and inundate them with unwanted junk mail.

The “Massachusetts Consumer Privacy In Commercial Transactions Statute,” or “Section 105(a)”:

Section 105. (a) 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.” Continue reading

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