On the not so bright side of the news, both Shopify Inc. and Shopify (USA) Inc. were sued by a Californian consumer over allegation that our favorite e-commerce platform doesn’t inform their customers who use payment forms that it is collecting their information and tracking consumer behavior across more than one million websites.
This is a pretty weird allegation to say the least in 2021, where everything is tracked and recorded, but the thing is, according to California law, it looks like Shopify actually infringed over consumer rights protected by the California Constitution and state and common law.
According to court fillings, consumers using Shopify, which by the way doesn’t sell anything, but it hosts/facilitates third-party merchant transactions, are being misled by documentation that makes it appear that payment forms which have Shopify branding actually pertain to Shopify; in reality, the form that appears to the consumer belongs to the merchant’s website, not Shopify.
Basically, consumers using Shopify 3rd party merchant websites have a reasonable expectation that they are communicating directly with the merchant, and the merchant alone, but the fact that Shopify will collect, store, and evaluate their sensitive communications and information is not transparent, hence the lawsuit.
The complaint deplores the fact that hopify obtains personally identifying information like customer name, address, phone number, e-mail, credit card details, IP addresses, the type of browser used, and the items purchased from the merchant’s website, and the software on the platform “surreptitiously installs tracking cookies on consumers’ computers and mobile devices”, which allows Shopify to identify a particular consumer and track their activities across its entire merchant network, and gather data like the number of declined cards used with Shopify merchants and how long ago one of the consumer’s cards was last declined.
Basically, Shopify is accused of invasion of privacy and violations of the California Computer Data Access and Fraud Act and Unfair Competition Law.