It’s no secret that Privado is one of my favorite places downtown. Somewhere between the vocal trance / house in the basement, the house / old-school / hip-hop soundtrack on the ground floor, the unique atmosphere, the fast service, and the high-but-still-reasonable prices, the place has fully recovered from its questionable “OMG BEACH CLUB” past. They obviously have a genuine interest in providing quality over quantity.
So I can’t understand why they’re still operating in blatant violation of federal law.
Merchants can not print the full credit card number on a customer receipt. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (15USC1681), as amended by the Fair & Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003, says so. It also establishes liquefied damages of $1000 per violation, in addition to court costs and legal fees. There were some exemptions built into the law to give merchants more than plenty of time to come into compliance, but the final exemption expired in December 2006.
Way back in October 2008, I sent them a very polite letter via certified mail. I pointed out what was wrong, what they could be liable for, and how to correct it. I also think I made it clear that I wasn’t just being a jerk about it; I really do like the place. I hoped to convey that I would much rather see them fix the problem than take them to federal court for tens of thousands of dollars.
All of my Privado receipts from the last few months still have my credit card number printed on them. Unbelievable. What is wrong with these guys? I’m under exactly zero obligation to call this matter to their attention, and they are entirely liable for ensuring self-awareness of and total compliance with all relevant state and federal laws. Yet because I’m a nice guy, and because I’d genuinely prefer to see the problem resolved without litigation, I’m sending my second and final certified letter out on Tuesday:
In my previous correspondence of 10/04/08, which was delivered via USPS Certified Mail on 10/06/08, I informed you that your credit card processing is out of compliance with federal law. Specifically, you have failed to comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. §1681 et seq) as it relates to printing credit card numbers on receipts. I have enclosed a copy of this letter for your convenience.
Be advised that non-compliance with this law allows the victim to recover up to $1000 in liquefied damages per violation, as well as court costs and legal fees. I urge you to consider this value against the number of receipts you currently print on a weekly basis, as well as the fact that this matter has been previously called to your attention.
I greatly enjoy Privado’s atmosphere and service, and I remain optimistic that this is nothing more than a comlpex oversight on your part. As such, I have again chosen to contact you directly in the hopes of resolving this before a more litigious customer visits your establishment. Please correct your credit card processing immediately. If you are unsure of how to do this, I urge you to immediately contact your credit card processor and/or POS vendor immediately.
What else do I have to do to get these guys into compliance? I’m rapidly running out of options.