Wednesday, January 9, 2008

More trouble for Sears...

Just when we thought things couldn't get worse for Sears, the retailer is facing increasing scrutiny from privacy advocatesa as well as a new law suit.

The Register Reports:

On Friday, a Sears customer filed a suit in Illinois state court alleging the retailer's ( website is "fatally flawed and was designed in such a way as to significantly compromise the private information of its customers." The complaint, which requests class-action status, seeks a court order requiring customer data be secured on the site and an award for damages.


The complaint was filed on behalf of Christine Desantis, a customer whose details about 10 purchases made over eight years was made available to anyone savvy enough to exploit the bug. She doesn't know if anyone actually accessed the information.


"At the most simple level, anyone can now access Sears's customers private purchase history, meaning that a nosy person can find out how much his neighbor spent on a new washing machine or lawnmower," the complaint alleges. "More problematically, marketing companies can mine the Managemyhome website for data about Sears customers, in order to transmit detailed advertisements for additional products and/or warranties."

The complaint, filed by KamberEdelson, seeks class-action status, $5 million in damages, including attorney's fees. KamberEdelson (a New York based law firm) has been successful in pursuing Sony BMG Music Entertainment after they shipped millions of CDs containing Spyware to their customers. The firm has indicated that they are seeking plaintiffs for a second class-action suit against Sears for having secretly installed ComScore's Web-tracking software on PCs from some Sears' online customers.

Presently, Sears has disabled its site's feature that allows a user to look up the purchase history of any customer, but it is unclear whether the retailer will restore the feature once the controversy has blown over.

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

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