FCRA AMENDED TO LIMIT ABUSIVE LAWSUITS FOR RECEIPT VIOLATIONS
In response to numerous lawsuits against retailers related to what can be printed on card receipts, the Credit and Debit Card Receipt Clarification Act of 2007, H.R. 4008, Pub. L. 110-241 (June 3, 2008), has been enacted to clarify the meaning of “willful noncompliance” with provisions governing information printed on credit and debit card receipts enacted by the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA), Pub. L. 108-159 (Dec. 4, 2003). The clarification, which is effective immediately and will apply retroactively to any action that is not yet final, expressly applies to pending lawsuits. Thus, pending lawsuits regarding the printing of expiration dates on receipts can allege only negligence and not willful noncompliance.
The FACTA amended the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) to, among other things, add a new provision preventing persons that accept credit or debit cards for the transaction of business from printing more than the last five digits of the card number or the expiration date on any receipt provided to the cardholder at the point of the sale or transaction. After this provision became effective, hundreds of lawsuits were filed alleging that the failure to remove the expiration date was a willful violation of the FCRA, even where the account number was truncated properly. The stated purposes of the new law are to protect consumers suffering from any actual harm to their credit or identity and limit abusive lawsuits that do not protect consumers, but only result in increased cost to business and potentially increased prices to consumers.
Specifically, the Act adds a new subsection (d) to Section 616 of the FCRA (15 U.S.C. § 1681n) stating that for purposes of Section 1681n (Civil Liability for Willful Noncompliance), any person who printed an expiration date on any receipt provided to a consumer cardholder between December 4, 2004 and June 3, 2008, but otherwise complied with the requirements of Section 605(g) (Truncation of Credit Card and Debit Card Numbers) for such receipt, will not be in willful noncompliance with Section 605(g) by reason of printing such expiration date on the receipt. Thus, the clarification is effective only as to receipts printed on or before the date the legislation was enacted.