Credit Card / Transaction Privacy AB 2920 (Areias)

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705-Attorney General


AB 2920 (Areias)

Chapter 999, Statutes of 1990

Effective January 1, 1991

(Civil Code~1747.8)

This statute, with certain exceptions, prohibits anyone who accepts a credit card from requiring the credit card holder to provide any "personal identification information" to be recorded on the credit card transaction form or elsewhere, as a condition of accepting the credit card. The statute also prohibits the use of credit card forms with preprinted spaces designated for filling in any personal identification information. However, the statute does not prohibit retailers from "requesting" this information.

"Personal identification information" means information on the cardholder such as the cardholder's address and telephone number, other than information on the credit card.

The above prohibitions do not apply to cash advance transactions or to personal identification information that the person accepting the credit card is contractually obligated to provide in order to complete the transaction, or if the information is required for a special purpose incidental to but related to the transaction, such as for shipping, servicing, delivery or installation of the goods or for special orders.

Violations are subject to a civil penalty of up to $250 for the first violation and $1,000 for subsequent violations in an action brought by the cardholder, the Attorney General, district attorney, or city attorney. No penalty would be assessed for unintentional violations resulting from a bona fide error made despite the defendant's maintenance of procedures reasonably adopted to avoid the error. The penalty would be paid to the cardholder or the general fund of the state, city or county, whichever bring the action.

The Attorney General, district attorney, or city attorney also would be authorized to sue to enjoin violations or obtain temporary restraining orders.

A merchant can collect personal information when:

  • The credit card is used as a deposit (rental reservations).
  • The credit card is used for cash advances.
  • The personal information is needed for something which is incidental but is related to the use of the credit card (delivery or shipping of merchandise).
  • A merchant is required by the card issuer to collect personal information. Some gas companies that issue their own cards can require stations to collect personal information.

See Also:

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