Earlier this week, we discussed the 2003 amendment to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) called FACTA, the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act. Last year an issue based on the statute came before the Northern District of Illinois and the Court was forced to decide on summary judgment whether distributing a copy of a merchant’s receipt to a customer with an expiration date could be considered a violation of the Act.
In Todd v. Target Corp., the plaintiff filed suit against Target Retailers for providing receipts that contained her credit card expiration date in violation of FACTA, § 1681c(g) of the FCRA. 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 44362 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 30, 2012). In this case, Todd shopped at the retailer on two separate occasions and paid by credit card both times. On each instance, Todd did not use the electronic signature pad to sign her name after paying by credit card and the store clerk handed Todd two receipts-a customer receipt that reported only the last few digits of her credit card number and no expiration date in compliance with FACTA and a store copy for Todd to sign that did in fact report the expiration date of the card. Todd argued that even though the store receipt was not meant for her, its distribution violated the Act and she was entitled to recovery under the statute. Target on the other hand argued that the merchant copy of the receipt was not in fact a receipt at all and was only for the store’s records. Target explained that a merchant copy of the receipt is only printed when a customer does not opt to sign using the electronic pad. This type of receipt is signed by the customer and retained by the store for its records. When Target filed a motion for summary judgment arguing that the merchant copy was not a receipt as defined by FACTA and that it did not willfully violate FACTA by providing the plaintiff with the merchant copy of the receipt, the Court denied its motion.
Specifically, FACTA states that “no person that accepts credit cards…shall print …the expiration date upon any receipt provided to the cardholder at the point of sale….” 15 U.S.C. § 1681c(g). Target argued that FACTA does not apply to the store’s copies because they are solely retained for record-keeping purposes and not distributed to the customers. The Court disagreed with Target’s opinion and in response, concluded that the merchant copy of the receipt did fall within the common definition.