There are dozens of federal statues and regulations that govern consumer privacy. They regulate what data a company can collect and how you must protect it once you have it. One of the best ways to mess up in e-commerce is not to follow your own guidelines.
The Federal Trade Commission, which enforces unfair trade practices, can bring federal action against companies that do not comply with their stated privacy policies or violate other consumer protection laws. It has brought 32 suits to date. Violation of your own stated policy can be a violation of Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act, and in North Carolina, an unfair trade practice allows a plaintiff to ask for triple damages and punitive damages.
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