California high court: Retailers can’t request cardholders’ ZIP code
California’s high court ruled Thursday that retailers don’t have the right to ask customers for their ZIP code while completing credit card transactions, saying that doing so violates a cardholders’ right to protect his or her personal information.
Many retailers in California and nationwide now ask people to give their ZIP code, punching in that information and recording it. Yet California Supreme Court’s seven justices unanimously determined that this practice goes too far.
The ruling, penned by Justice Carlos Moreno, overrules earlier decisions by trial and appeals courts in California. It points to a 1971 state law that prohibits businesses from asking credit cardholders for “personal identification information” that could be used to track them down.
While a ZIP code isn’t a full address, the court’s judgment states that asking for it — and piecing that 5-digit number together with other information, like a cardholder’s name — “would permit retailers to obtain indirectly what they are clearly prohibited from obtaining directly, (therefore) ‘end-running’” the intent of California state laws.