Borders and consumer privacy: The next chapter

When a retailer closes its doors, what’s the effect on privacy promises the company made to its customers?  The business community and bankruptcy bar have been watching with interest what’s going on in the bankruptcy of former book and video seller Borders.  Are you up on the latest developments?

In September, BCP Director David Vladeck sent a letter to the consumer privacy ombudsman appointed by the court overseeing the bankruptcy, offering perspectives on that issue and advocating for the protection on personal information.

What’s happened since then?  As part of Borders’ sale of assets, Barnes & Noble is acquiring customer information from Borders, including email addresses and purchase histories.  According to an email sent to many former Borders customers, people can opt out of having Borders share their information — but the deadline for opting out is October 15th.  Similar notices are posted on borders.com and barnesandnoble.com.

The FTC is not a party in the court proceeding and isn’t recommending any particular course of action for consumers.  But businesses that maintain customer information and the attorneys who counsel them will want to read up on the next chapter in the Borders story.

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