AG Healey Announces Settlement with RadioShack Over the Sale of Customer Data
Multistate Agreement Protects Consumer Privacy in Connection With RadioShack Bankruptcy
BOSTON – Attorney General Maura Healey joined a coalition of states in announcing a settlement with RadioShack which will limit it from transferring certain customer data in connection with the company’s federal bankruptcy court proceedings.
As a result of their opposition to the sale of data from millions of consumers, AG Healey, along with 37 other states, filed an agreement that will prevent its new owner, General Wireless Operations, Inc., from gaining access to any sensitive information, such as credit or debit card information, social security numbers, telephone numbers or dates of birth.
“Millions of customers provided their personal information to this business with the promise of limited use and safekeeping, and should be able to trust representations made to them in privacy policies,” AG Healey said. “We are pleased that the new operators of RadioShack will respect the promises previously made to these customers regarding their personally identifiable information.”
Yesterday, the federal bankruptcy court in Delaware approved General Wireless to purchase RadioShack’s entire e-commerce business, intellectual property, and remaining assets, which include certain customer data significantly limited by this settlement.
General Wireless will be permitted to retain only the email and postal mailing addresses previously given by RadioShack customers requesting product information. Out of the 8.5 million customer email addresses in RadioShack’s files, the agreement limits the number of email addresses to those obtained during the past two years. Impacted customers will be provided the opportunity to opt out before their email addresses are transferred, and will be sent an email notifying them of this right.
General Wireless will continue to employ approximately 10,000 former RadioShack employees and operate more than 1,700 RadioShack stores nationwide. Under the terms of the settlement, any customer receiving postal mail from the new RadioShack will also be able to opt out of future communications from the company. Additional information regarding customer opt-out will be available on RadioShack’s website.
Out of the 117 million customer files originally available for sale, no more than 67 million will be purchased by General Wireless and the rest will be destroyed by RadioShack. Importantly, General Wireless will be prohibited from selling or sharing any customer information it has purchased in the future with any other entity, including its new co-branded business partner, Sprint Communications.
This matter was handled for Massachusetts by Assistant Attorney General Francesca L. Miceli of AG Healey’s Consumer Protection Division.