Friday, January 11, 2008

Sears Website Allegedly Compromised Personal Information

This posting was written by William Zale, Editor of CCH Privacy Law in Marketing.

A Sears web-based system designed to allow customers to view their purchase history at compromised personal information by allowing anyone to access customers’ private purchase histories, according to a class action complaint filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois.

Marketing companies allegedly can mine the “Managemyhome” website for data about Sears customers in order to transmit detailed advertisements for additional products and/or warranties, according to the complaint.

The complaint includes claims for breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and violation of the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act. Sears is alleged to have breached a good faith and fair dealing provision implicit in its contracts by failing to make required disclosures and by failing to take reasonable steps to insure that private information was not easily accessible to the public.

Damages are asserted on the theory that the value of the products and services purchased from Sears was diminished because Sears made publicly available personal information connected to those purchases.

The case is DeSantis v. Sears Roebuck and Co., Docket No. 08CH00448, filed January 4, 2008.

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