RadioShack's recent bankruptcy filing means that it has to close nearly 2,000 stores and sell off many of its assets. Some of those assets are to be expected, like trademarks and store leases. But other assets might come as a shock to consumers — assets like personal customer information and email addresses.
As Bloomberg reports, RadioShack is offering up more than 13 million email addresses and 65 million physical addresses to the highest bidder. And that's not sitting too well with the Attorneys General in some states, where they contend that the sale is a violation of consumer rights.
Both Texas and Tennessee have joined a lawsuit to stop the sale of the customer information. They apparently took literally the signs in RadioShack that read: "We pride ourselves on not selling our private mailing list." How quaint.
To make things even more complicated, AT&T is objecting to the sale of the consumer data. Their motives, however, are less altruistic. As a former partner of RadioShack, AT&T wants the records destroyed so that their former customer info doesn't fall into the hands of any competitors in the mobile phone market.
On a personal note, I walked into a RadioShack that was closing a couple weeks ago with a pang of nostalgia. Everything was for sale, right down to the point of sale (POS) computers. Of course, the signs on the counter that offered the computers for sale noted that they'd be "wiped" first. But something tells me that maintaining customer privacy isn't the highest priority for RadioShack right now. [Bloomberg via Consumerist]
Photos by Matt Novak