LOS ANGELES, Feb. 22, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- A consumer protection lawsuit was filed today accusing California's largest gas station chains of violating the Song-Beverly Credit Card Act by requiring customers who pay with credit cards to type their zip codes into a keypad then electronically recording and transferring that information.
Under California law, merchants are permitted to request personal identification information from a buyer paying with a credit card. However, the Song-Beverly Act prohibits merchants from recording such information or requiring the customer to do so.
A California court had previously ruled that zip codes were not "personal identification information." And, virtually every gas station in the state requires customers to key in their zip code as part of the payment process. However, last week the California Supreme Court held that zip codes are "personal identification information" protected by the Song-Beverly Act.
Today's lawsuit (available at www.JeffSchwartzLaw.com/zipcodes.pdf) alleges that Chevron, Conocophillips (Conoco, Phillips 66, and Union 76), Exxonmobil (Exxon, Mobil), Shell, Tesoro (USA Gasoline), and Thrifty gasoline stations, both corporate-owned and franchised, violated the Song-Beverly Act by requiring customers to type in their zip code then recording that information electronically and sending it to a credit card processing site.
The Song-Beverly Act provides for civil penalties of up to $1,000 for each repeat violation. The defendant oil companies may be liable for up to a billion dollars a day, making this one of the largest consumer class actions in history.
For more information, or to schedule an interview, contact Jeff Schwartz at 888-7300-LAW or jeff@JeffSchwartzLaw.com.
SOURCE Schwartz Law, P.C.