California Supreme Court rules online retailers can require personal information for credit card purchases

220px-MacBook_AirIn a 4-3 vote on Monday, the California Supreme Court ruled that online retailers can require consumers to provide personal information, including home address and phone number, to be used as verification for credit card purchases.

Though California law prohibits traditional retailers from requiring consumers to provide personal information, the court ruled that the law does not apply to online retailers like Apple. In 2011, a customer filed suit against Apple, saying that requiring him to provide his phone number and address to purchase a downloadable product violated the Song-Beverly Credit Card Act, Low Cards reports.

Apple maintained that the law applied only to physical retailers and not online merchants, adding that the customer’s personal information was required to prevent against fraud and identity theft.

The court said that the law could not predict the rise of online commerce when it was passed by legislators 20 years ago. Justice Goodwin Liu said that legislators should consider making changes to the law if they expect it to be applicable to online purchases.

“While it is clear the Legislature enacted the Credit Card Act to protect consumer privacy, it is also clear that the Legislature did not intend to achieve privacy protection without regard to exposing consumers and retailers to undue risk of fraud,” Liu said, according to Low Cards.

The Song-Beverly Credit Card Act was amended in 2011 to allow gas retailers to require consumers to provide their ZIP code at the pump to verify credit card purchases and help detect fraud.

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