Yesterday was Sue a Woburn Retailer Day

Three people who complied with orders from store clerks to hand over their Zip codes or risk not having their purchases go through are now suing over the junk mail they subsequently got.

The suits, filed yesterday in US District Court in Boston by the same Chicago law firm, say Payless, Lowes and Pet Smart stores in Woburn violated the state's consumer-privacy law by using the Zip codes for some computer data mining to find out where they lived and send them mailings they never requested. The same firm filed similar suits the day before against CVS and DSW.

In March, the state Supreme Judicial Court ruled Zip codes in this context are personal information and that therefore this practice violates a state law aimed at protecting that information.

As in the spate of similar suits filed since the ruling, the consumers want to be declared lead plaintiffs in a class action for $25 per incident plus treble damages and lawyers' fees. Each suit claims Massachusetts consumers were damaged to the tune of at least $5 million per chain.

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Comments

I've been doing this for years

Strawberries Record Store would ask for zip codes back in the day. They said that it was so they knew where their business was coming from and that would dictate where they would spend their advertising budget in direct mailings and newspaper circulars.

If anyone needs a fake zip in a pinch: "oh-two-one-three-four - Send it to Zoom!" Unless, of course, that is your current zip.