Natick woman sues Gap for using her Zip code to find her address and send her junk mail

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.

Other chains now facing similar lawsuits: J Crew, Sur La Table and the Container Store, Bed Bath and Beyond and Michael's.

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    Comments

    It's junk mail. Throw it

    By on

    It's junk mail. Throw it away, get over yourself, and quit clogging the courts. If you're so concerned about privacy, pay with cash and when someone asks you for information you don't want to give, decline to provide it. It's not that hard.

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    How are the courts clogged?

    By on

    Second, bravo I say.

    Personal Data is a gold mine and worth a ton of money. Business are collecting data that belongs to us and making a buck of it without compensating us.

    They really shouldn't be able to without a customer opting in, rather than out. More so, we should be seeing checks in the mail off our personal data they're mining and selling without our consent.

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    Just say No

    By on

    When they ask for your zip code, you can so no.

    You did know this didn't you? Giving it to them is voluntary. They can get it off your credit card/debit card if they want, but giving it to them is saying "mail me your crap!"

    Only once or twice have I given a cashier my zip code, but that was because I wasn't thinking. The sale can go through without them typing it in.

    Gah, people are sheep.

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