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."