Patagonia Privacy Class Action Filed

Update:

The Settlement Administrator sent out an email to class members. This email, sent on 11/25/14 from millerpatagoniasettlement@tgcginc.com is below:

NOTICE OF PENDING CLASS ACTION AND NOTICE OF PROPOSED SETTLEMENT
MILLER v. PATAGONIA, INC.

You are receiving this e-mail because, between March 18, 2010 and April 17, 2013, you may have provided a zip code (that Patagonia did not previously have) during a Credit Card purchase transaction at Patagonia’s Massachusetts Retail Store, and Patagonia maintains an email address for you.

A court authorized this Notice.  This is not a solicitation from a lawyer.  You are not being sued.

Why did I get this notice?  A settlement (“Settlement”) has been proposed in a class action lawsuit pending in the Suffolk County Superior Court for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts titled Miller v. Patagonia, Inc., C.A. 14-0888 (the “Action).  According to available records, you may be a “Settlement Class Member.”  The purpose of this notice is to inform you of the Action and the Settlement so that you may decide what steps to take in relation to it.

What is the Action about?  The Action was filed against Patagonia, Inc. (“Patagonia”).  Plaintiff Lauren Miller claims that Patagonia improperly collected customers’ zip codes at Patagonia’s Massachusetts store and sent customers unwanted marketing materials.  Patagonia denies that its actions violated the law, and no court or other entity has made any judgment or other determination that Patagonia violated the law.  Plaintiff believes that Patagonia’s conduct, as alleged, violated Massachusetts law and that her lawsuit has substantive merit. Both parties have agreed to a settlement to avoid the cost and risk of a trial.

Who is a member of the Settlement Class?  The Settlement Class – which includes you – is comprised of all Massachusetts customers who provided a zip code during a credit card or debit card purchase transaction at Patagonia’s retail store located at 346 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02115 (“Patagonia’s Massachusetts Retail Store”) from March 18, 2010 to April 17, 2013, for whom Patagonia did not already have a zip code and for whom Patagonia maintains a mailing or email address.

What relief does the Settlement provide me?  Patagonia has agreed to provide a merchandise certificate (“Certificate”) to all Settlement Class Members redeemable for $13 toward a future purchase from Patagonia.  The Certificate shall be fully transferrable.  The Certificate may not be used in conjunction with other offers, coupons, discounts, and promotions.  Only one Certificate may be used by each customer.  The Certificate is to be used on a single, in-store purchase at Patagonia’s Massachusetts Retail Store.  The Certificate is not redeemable for purchases from mail order catalogues, from Patagonia.com, for gift cards, or for prior purchases.  No minimum or maximum purchase amount is required to use the Certificate.  The Certificate cannot be redeemed for cash back, and any remaining balance not used in a single, in-store transaction shall be forfeited.  No monetary refund, cash, or change of any kind shall be provided for all or any portion of the Certificate’s value.  The Certificate cannot be redeemed as cash or merchandise credit if the merchandise is returned.  The Certificate is not a gift card or a gift certificate under federal or Massachusetts law, it cannot be replaced or redeemed if lost or stolen, and copies of the Certificate will not be accepted.  The Certificate shall be immediately available for redemption upon receipt, and shall expire 180 days after issuance.

                How can I get a Certificate?  If the Settlement is approved, you do not need to do anything to receive a certificate.  Instead, within 30 days after the settlement has been finally approved, Patagonia will send you a certificate by email or, if you do not have a valid email on file with Patagonia, by mail at the mailing address on file with Patagonia.  In the event that any such email or postal mailing is returned as undeliverable, Patagonia shall have no further obligation to deliver a Certificate to you unless you provide Patagonia with a valid email or postal mailing address within 60 days after the Settlement has obtained Final Judicial Approval.

                What happens when the Settlement is approved?  If the Settlement is approved, Patagonia will send you a Certificate.  In addition, you (and any person claiming by, for, or through you) will give up any right to bring your own lawsuit or participate in any lawsuit about the issues in this case.  The Settlement releases Patagonia and affiliated parties from all the claims as described in the settlement agreement, available for you to read on the settlement website here.

What other options do I have?  You may object or ask for permission for you or your own lawyer to appear and speak at the hearing – at your own cost – but you don’t have to do either.  Written objections and requests to appear must be sent to Civil Clerk’s Office, Suffolk Superior Court, County Courthouse, 12th Floor, Three Pemberton Square, Boston, MA 02108 and received by January 2, 2015 (with a copy to counsel for Patagonia and the Class).  Details on how to object, along with more information, are described here.  The Court will hold a hearing on February 3, 2015, at 2:00 p.m. to consider whether to approve the settlement and attorneys’ fees and awards for the Class Representative.  The hearing will take place before the Honorable Janet Sanders (or another Superior Court judge sitting in her stead) in Room 1017, County Courthouse, Suffolk Superior Court, Three Pemberton Square, Boston, MA 02108.

Where can I find more information about the Settlement?  For more detailed information about your rights in connection with this case, please visit www.millerpatagonia-settlement.com.

*                             *                              *                                   *

Original Post

A class action lawsuit has been filed by the Leonard Law Office and co-counsel against Patagonia.  The case alleges that Patagonia violated a Massachusetts credit card privacy law.

Patagonia

Patagonia — Newbury Street, Boston

Excerpts from the complaint:

Plaintiff brings this action for redress of the unlawful practice of Patagonia of collecting ZIP codes at checkout at its Massachusetts store from customers who make purchases with Credit Cards , recording that information as part of the Credit Card transaction, and then using that information for its own marketing and promotional purposes, including to send unsolicited marketing and promotional materials, or “junk mail.” This practice, which has affected Plaintiff and members of the Class, as described and defined herein, is an invasion of privacy and violates G. L. c. 93 § 105(a) and G. L. c. 93A, § 2.

A recent article from CNNMoney discussed the significant privacy violations that result from the practice of collecting ZIP codes. According to CNNMoney:

[T]he five-digit zip code is one of the key items data brokers use to link a wealth of public records to what you buy. They can figure out whether you’re getting married (or divorced), selling your home, smoke cigarettes, sending a kid off to college or about to have one. Such information is the cornerstone of a multi-billion dollar industry that enables retailers to target consumers with advertising and coupons. Yet, data privacy experts are concerned about the level at which consumers are being tracked without their knowledge — and what would happen if that data got into the wrong hands. Acxiom, one of the biggest data brokers in the business, claims to have a database that holds information — including one’s age, marital status, education level, political leanings, hobbies and income level — on 190 million individuals. Major competitors, like Datalogix and CoreLogic, tout similarly vast databases. In most cases, all that is needed to match the information these data brokers compile with what you buy is your full name — obtained when you swipe a credit card — and a zip code, according to data privacy experts. This allows them to figure out that you are the Sally Smith who lives in Butte, Mont., not the one who lives in Denver, for example. “For the majority of the country, the zip code is going to be the piece of the puzzle that is going to enable a merchant to identify you,” said Paul Stephens, director of policy and advocacy at the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse.

Source “What Your ZIP Code Reveals About You,” April 18, 2013 (available at http://money.cnn.com/2013/04/18/pf/data-privacy/).

Information about Patagonia

Patagonia is a California company founded by Yvon Chouinard. It is best known for its high quality outdoor clothing, and esteemable corporate ethics.

 

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