Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Sears faces class action for violating customer privacy on their site

A few days ago, I wrote about a post on the Truston blog concerning Sears being taken to task by a Harvard professor and the Washington Post (Brian Krebs) for violating customer privacy on their site.

Not only was information being data mined for marketing purposes, but the site allowed third parties (anyone) access to it.

Now it appears lawyers have gotten together a class action against Sears.

In an update, Brian Krebs is reporting:

In a complaint filed Friday in Cook County, Illinois -- where Sears is headquartered -- the plaintiffs allege that the lack of privacy protections at Sears's managemyhome.com site violated its own privacy promises to consumers, and in so doing ran afoul of the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act, which prohibits "unfair and deceptive practices."

The complaint seeks class-action status, and more than $5 million in damages, including attorneys' fees. A copy of the complaint is linked here (PDF).

The suit was filed by KamberEdelson, the same New York City based law firm that successfully pursued Sony BMG Music Entertainment after the media giant shipped millions of music CDs that included spyware.

The same law firm is also seeking plantiffs for a second class action against Sears for installing tracking software on customer's computers after they made a purchase on their site. This might set an interesting legal precedent given all the tracking sofware being used out there.

After all, there is a lot of customer espionage going on out there (my opinion).

So far as me personally, this story has made me extremely wary of shopping at Sears, whether in a mall or on the Internet.

Full story from Brian Krebs on the Security Fix blog, here.

4 comments:

tfragala said...

Ed,

good follow up. thanks for staying on top of this story. it is an important one.

Tom
Truston

Anonymous said...

How can I join your class action effort against Sears? Please see http://www.projectpro.com/Spam/Spammers002.htm. I will be looking for a response here. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I have never had a Sears card, but they have reported on my credit report for several different amounts, I have contacted them several times and they admitted that my social did not match, but continue to report me as a debtor. Everytime I get the item removed(or so I think) the collection agency they use resales the collection account to another company. The amount of the debt changes everytime, it started out as 2600, now its reporting as 1800, how do I go about fixing this. I have thought about filing suit, but I don't know how effective it will be, and do I go after Sears or their collection company?

Anonymous said...

Sears has reported that I owe them money over and over on my credit report, I have never had a Sears account, and when I contacted them they admitted that the social on the account and billing address is not mine, but refuse to resolve the issue. I have disputed the charge, but everytime on collection company closes the file, they sell it to another company and the amount keeps changing, it started as 2600 and now its 1800, its changes every time they sell it! I have got no where with this, and Im debating on if I should file a law suit. Any advise?