California’s Supreme Court Holds That Businesses May Not Collect Consumer's Zip Code Information In Credit Card Transactions


The California Supreme Court held last week that the Song-Beverly Credit Card Act of 1971 (Civil Code § 1747 et. seq.) prohibits merchants from requesting and storing consumers’ zip codes in the course of completing card transactions.

In Pineda v. Williams-Sonoma Stores, Inc., No. S178241 (Cal., Feb. 10, 2011), the high court reversed two lower court decisions, including the underlying case that was on appeal before the court and Party City Corp. v. Superior Court, 169 Cal. App.4th 497 (2008), which had previously held that zip codes were not “personal identification information” (“PII”).

The Supreme Court held that zip codes are PII and therefore cannot be collected by merchants during credit card transactions.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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