Class action claims Expedia violates identify theft prevention statute

Ann Knef Jul. 31, 2007, 11:00am

A class action lawsuit filed against Expedia, Inc. claims the online travel agency printed more than five digits of customers' credit card numbers in violation of a federal statute designed to prevent identity theft.

Williamson County resident Natalie Sutton seeks punitive and statutory damages, as well as attorneys' fees, costs and a permanent injunction enjoining Expedia, doing business as, from engaging in conduct that violates the Fair and Accurate Transaction Act (FACTA).

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois on Tuesday, also names "Does 1 through 10" as fictitious defendants. When their true names are ascertained, pleadings will be amended as necessary, the complaint states.

FACTA was passed in 2003 and provides that anyone accepting credit or debit cards may not print more than the last five digits of the card number or the expiration date upon any receipt provided to the cardholder at the point of sale or transaction.

Credit card machines put into use after Jan. 1, 2005, required immediate compliance with FACTA. Machines in use before Jan. 1, 2005, were required to be in compliance by Dec. 4, 2006.

"Despite knowing and being repeatedly informed about FACTA and the importance of truncating credit card and debit card numbers and preventing the printing of expiration dates on receipts, and despite having had more than three years to comply with FACTA's requirements, Defendant willfully violated and continues to violate FACTA's requirements...," the complaint states.

Represented by John R. Patchett of Marion, as well as Barrett & Associates of Nashville, Tenn. and Spragins, Barnett & Cobb and Gilbert & Russell of Jackson, Tenn., the suit claims that there are "at minimum" hundreds of members of the proposed class.

The complaint states that a class action is a superior method of adjudicating claims.

"While the aggregate damages which may be awarded to the members of the class are likely to be substantial, the damages suffered by the individual members of the class are relatively small," the complaint states.

"As a result, the expense and burden of individual litigation makes it economically infeasible and procedurally impracticable for each member of the class to individually seek redress for the wrongs done to them.

"Plaintiff does not know of any other litigation concerning this controversy already commenced by or against any member of the class."

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