Urban Outfitters and its sister brand, Anthropologie, are facing a possible class action lawsuit for collecting customer zip codes. Plaintiffs Whitney Hancock and Jamie White filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia last month, alleging that they were asked for their zip codes upon making purchases at Urban Outfitters and Anthropolgie “under the guise that [such info] is required to make a purchase with a credit card." Turns out, the complaint claims that "ZIP codes are not required when using a credit card. To the contrary, District of Columbia law forbids retailers from requesting or collecting such Consumer Identification Information during credit-card transactions." Hancock and White further allege that Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie use customers’ zip codes for their own “pecuniary benefit,” including engaging in direct marketing campaigns without customers’ permission, as "once a retailer has a customer’s name (indicated on the credit card), and his or her ZIP code, it can determine their address."
Hancock and White are seeking class action certification (which would enable a larger pool of Urban Outfitters and Anthrologie shoppers to join the lawsuit); statutory damages of $500 to each member of the class; up to $1,500 in statutory treble damages for each violation of the District law during the class period; permanent prevention from the defendants from requesting and collecting zip codes when customers choose to pay with a credit card; and “reasonable” attorneys fees and costs.