In the latest lawsuit against a retail chain for its use of Zip codes, a woman who used to like shopping at the Gap in Wellesley is suing over mailings she never asked for.
In her suit, originally filed in state court but transferred to US District Court in Boston, Molly Karp says she shopped at the Wellesley Gap ten times over the past four years, and each time was required to hand over her Zip digits. She charges the Gap then used that to find out where she lived and send her "unsolicited and unwanted direct-marketing material at her home."
The Supreme Judicial Court ruled in March that stores cannot require customers to provide their Zip codes for credit-card purchases, because the numbers are the sort of "personal identification information" protected under a privacy provision of the state's consumer-protection law. Using what are known as data-mining techniques, chains can match a consumer's name and Zip code with an address in databases.
Karp wrote she brings her suit on behalf of everybody who's shopped at one of the Gap's 45 Massachusetts stores over the past four years and who paid for something with a credit card.
The Gap has benefited unjustly by collecting and recording its customers personal identification information and using it for marketing purposes or to sell to other businesses without their consent.