A California Court of Appeal recently interpreted the state’s Song-Beverly Credit Act to allow merchants to require extra personal identifying information from customers to be recorded on credit card slips when giving a customer credit for returned merchandise.  The statute prohibits retailers from requiring customers to provide extra personal identification information, such as a driver’s license or Social Security Number, on credit card transaction slips, or using slips which have pre-printed spaces for such information.  The Court of Appeal determined that this applies to purchase transactions, but does not prohibit retailers from asking for such information when a customer returns merchandise for credit on a charge card.  The court’s conclusion derives from its reading of the state statute (California Civil Code Section 1747.08(a)), reinforced by the observation that merchandise returns involve “substantial opportunity for fraud” when customers return used, damaged, or stolen goods.  (TJX Companies Inc. v. Superior Court, California Courts of Appeal No. G038807, May 22, 2008).

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