Radio Shack Puts Its Customer Database Up For Sale

Remember when you bought that phone or USB cable at Radio shack and they asked for your name and email address?  CBS is reporting that Radio Shack listed that as an asset in their bankruptcy and has put it up for sale.

That means your name, address, phone number and purchase information is up for sale to the highest bidder.   That is, assuming the bankruptcy judge agrees.  They have agreed in the past with some stipulations.

That would be info on 117 million customers.

One rub – Radio Shack’s privacy policy says that they won’t sell or rent your personally identifiable information to anyone at any time.

AT&T is not happy because the current highest bidder is the company planning to buy half the stores and co-brand them with Sprint.  AT&T doesn’t want Sprint to have their customer list.

The AGs in Texas and New York aren’t happy either.

Unfortunately, federal bankruptcy law likely will trump these objections. If the judge says yes, there may be lawsuits.

One thing you can do is, when you go into a store and they ask for your information, say no.  With few exceptions (buying a cell phone, unfortunately, is one of them since they are extending you credit) you do not have to cough up your info.  It is fun to watch the clerk’s reaction when you say NO in response to the request for information.  It is clear that some stores do not train their staff for that answer.  Other stores just move along.  I have seen many clerks enter some information after I said no – garbage in, garbage out.

What Radio Shack is doing – selling customer data – is not that unusual.  It is just that they usually try to do it away from the street lights in a dark alley.  Radio Shack is doing it under the spotlight of the bankruptcy court.


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