With credit card identity theft becoming a growing issue of concern, Congress introduced FACTA in 2003. The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) imposes some strict rules upon merchants who provide transaction receipts to their consumers. In a recent case before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Expedia Inc was cited for failing to abide by these exacting rules.
Several of the rules under FACTA are essentially to prevent credit card identity theft. One of the many rules under FACTA calls for is the truncation of printed receipts. As such, printed receipts are not allowed to contain the last five digits of the consumer's credit card number, nor are they allowed to contain the credit card expiration date.
But FACTA, enacted well into the digital consumer age, failed to specify whether electronic receipts fell under this rule.
The case before the 9th Circuit involves a consumer, Dimitriy Simonoff, who received a receipt via email from Expedia. The receipt included his credit card's expiration date, which under FACTA, is a violation if involving a printed receipt issued at the point-of-sale.
The distinction here was the electronically issued receipt, as opposed to a receipt that was issued at the point of sale. A three-judge panel upheld the lower court ruling in favor of Expedia, which held that the terms of FACTA regarding the truncation of receipts applied to physically printed receipts and not those that appear on the screens of smart phones or computers, reports Courthouse News.
In rendering its decision, the 9th Circuit said that the Congressional intent was clear in the Act and that had Congress intended the Act to apply to electronically transmitted receipts, it would have used language to that effect.
With the marketplace changing and becoming ever-so electronic, it will be interesting to see how consumer protection laws adapt. Keep reading this blog, as we will soon cover cases involving digital media as well, addressing the myriad of legal issues and recent cases involving licensing and online sales.