(Credit: Flickr/kentb)

You’re at the checkout counter with your credit card in hand when the cashier asks for your zip code. You may think the question is leading to a new American Apparel/Whole Foods/John Campbell’s Irish Bakery in your neighborhood. That may be, but Williams Sonoma was also building a reverse search database. You know, so the San Francisco-based retailer can figure out where you live….presumably to give you a new reason to update your opt-out profile with Catalog Choice.

Tracking zip codes like that violates the Song-Beverly Credit Card Act of 1971 (Civ. Code, § 1747 et seq.), according to the state Supreme Court.

Today’s 17 page ruling overturns an appellate court’s 2008 ruling to the contrary. The Supreme Court justices determined unanimously that Williams-Sonoma offered no reason that would justify “departing” from the “statute’s plain language, protective purpose and legislative history.”

This just in: Google Weddings. I like the Caribbean theme, but isn’t Google totally capable of reverse searching what computer I’m browsing on? Isn’t Williams-Sonoma as well?


Rachael Myrow

Rachael Myrow is KQED's South Bay arts reporter, covering arts and culture in San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz Counties. She also guest hosts for  The California Report and Forum, files stories for NPR and hosts a podcast called Love in the Digital Age.

Her passion for public radio was born as an undergrad at the University of California at Berkeley, writing movie reviews for KALX-FM. After finishing one degree in English, she got another in journalism, landed a job at Marketplace in Los Angeles, and another at KPCC, before returning to the Bay Area to work at KQED.

She spent more than seven years hosting The California Report, and over the past 20 years has won a Peabody and three Edward R. Murrow Awards (one for covering the MTA Strike, her first assignment as a full-time reporter in 2000 as well as numerous other honors including from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Radio Television News Directors Association and the LA Press Club.
Follow @rachaelmyrow

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