Some Waldenbooks’ Shopper Data Now Up For Sale

HARRISBURG PA – A database full of information about shoppers at the former Borders book store chain, including its Waldenbooks subsidiary outlet at Pottstown’s Coventry Mall, may soon be surprised by an e-mail that tells them their personal information and shopping histories could be sold to Borders’ surviving rival, Barnes & Noble, the state Attorney General’s office warned.

Barnes & Noble is buying some assets from the now-closed Borders at a cost of $14 million, AG Linda Kelly said last week (Oct. 3). Among them is its database filled with names, email addresses, telephone numbers, birthdays, credit card information and past purchases, Kelly said. Nearly 50 million Borders customers nationwide, and thousands in Pennsylvania, would be affected by the asset sale, she estimated.

Customers do have some choice in the matter, Kelly added. The state Bureau of Consumer Protection has worked with other states to protect consumer privacy since Borders filed for bankruptcy during February (2011). The coming e-mail lets them opt out of the data transfer, preventing their customer information from being moved. However, they must respond promptly when asked to decide.

The Attorney General said that former Borders customers can stop their information from being transferred in two ways:

Kelly urged consumers to carefully review and respond to the privacy information and instructions included in the e-mail and websites. E-mail opt-out responses must be received within 15 days. Customers who use the Barnes & Noble or Borders websites to opt out will have 30 days. Customers who allow their information to be transferred will still have their data protected by the Barnes & Noble privacy policy.