New Jersey C-Stores Reveal Too Much

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New Jersey C-Stores Reveal Too Much

NEW YORK -- A 2003 federal law to combat identity theft has put two Garden State convenience retailers in hot water, as a series of putative class action lawsuits have been filed against the companies for printing too much identifiable information on credit- and debit-card receipts.

The New Jersey Law Journal reported that in New Jersey, suits have been filed against Hess Corp. and Quick Chek, along with Avis and Budget car rental companies and Toys "R" Us outlets. Suits outside of the state name retailers such as IKEA, Costco, Victoria's Secret and Rite-Aid.

More suits are expected to be filed due to the number of potential claims. Lawyers on both sides state that consumers who check their receipts can find data that violates the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (FACTA), the report stated. FACTA prohibits listing the expiration date or more than five digits of the account number on electronically created receipts. Retailers that violate the law can face up to $1,000 in damages per infraction, the Law Journal stated.

A defense lawyer told the Journal that large retail chains could face billions of dollars in claims if an error results in hundreds of thousands of non-complying receipts. The New Jersey cases, filed in April and May, follow similar claims in California, where dozens of cases are still pending. While none of the cases have been decided, judges have denied motions for dismissal for failure to state a claim.

The plaintiff's lawyer, Donald Maurice Jr. of Flemington, N.J.'s Maurice & Needleman, monitored California's situation before bringing a suit against Whitehouse Station, N.J.-based Quick Chek, he told the Journal. He added that a check of his own credit receipts revealed a significant number of merchants were not complying with the law.

"This is not something that has been hidden under a rock," Maurice said.

On May 11, Lisa Rodriguez, of Haddonfield, N.J.'s Trujillo, Rodriguez & Richards, filed a suit against Woodbridge, N.J.-based Hess and Parsippany, N.J.-based Avis Budget Group, the report stated.