Courts Still Mulling Class-Action Status of Credit Transaction Suits

As many as 300 class-action lawsuits involving alleged retail violations of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 are still awaiting legal ruling on their class-action status, among other issues, according to John McIntyre, partner at Reed Smith, a law firm that represents about 15 of the retail companies named in the suits.

PITTSBURGH — As many as 300 class-action lawsuits involving alleged retail violations of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 are still awaiting legal ruling on their class-action status, among other issues, according to John McIntyre, partner at Reed Smith, a law firm that represents about 15 of the retail companies named in the suits. The credit and debit card provisions of the law, which took effect in December 2006, state that retailers can be held liable for damages of between $100 and $1,000 for each card receipt that does not properly truncate card numbers and expiration dates. Most of the cases — some of which involve food retailers — have focused on the printing of expiration dates, said McIntyre. Federal courts have differed on whether these cases should be given class-action status—with potentially large windfalls for plaintiffs. “It will probably shake out over the next year which direction this will go as to whether courts will allow these cases to be class-actions,” said McIntyre. Retailers can avoid printing full credit card numbers and expiration dates by making an adjustment in the POS software. “Most of the big supermarket chains have made the change but some smaller retailers may not know of the law and may still be printing expiration dates,” he said.

Read More of Today's Headlines [3]