At the Javelin Strategy blog, Mary Monahan analyzes TJX's announcement and settlement offer to its ID-theft victims:
"Late Friday night, after sundown on Yom Kippur to be exact, TJX made the announcement of the settlement agreement for their customer class action suits. In retail delivery, timing is critical and TJX has taken that message to heart. Tired of the constant negative PR, TJX decided to slip this announcement in at a time when it would get the least notice and press play."
I really like this part:
"... TJX has come to a settlement: three years of credit monitoring to those consumers whose personal information such as driver’s licenses and Social Security numbers were stolen in the breach (455,000) and a $30 TJX voucher for those clients who can show that they lost time and money due to its data breach (e.g., those whose credit card numbers were breached, namely, 45.7 million consumers), and $6.5 million to the attorneys."
Three years of free credit monitoring is a solid step in the right direction, and a longer period than most other companies' credit monitoring offer. More importantly, Monahan does an excellent job of shining a spotlight on TJX's marketing:
"A voucher to get millions of customers into its stores to shop. How neat and clean for TJX. And with a voucher, either money is left on the table, or consumers end up spending more money in the store to realize the full value of the certificate. Some lucky consumers will even get two vouchers if they can prove their costs exceed $60."
A voucher is good only if you plan to shop at a TJX brand store. If you are one of the thousands of former TJX customers who vow to never shop at a TJX-brand retail store again, the voucher is worthless. It's like giving somebody the sleeves off a vest. This is not responsible corporate citizenship. If TJX is going to pay its ID-theft victims, then pay them! Cash is always good. And if they can pay the lawyers in cash, they can pay their customers in cash, too.
The Javelin Strategy blog adds:
Vouchers to clear up lawsuits are frowned upon by consumer rights advocates because they can drive up sales; even while class action attorneys accept them eagerly because they pocket larger fees as a result. Note that attorney fees are not paid in vouchers; if they were, we’d quickly see an end to this settlement practice... this is a merchandising company who knows how to milk a data breach for every sales dollar."
I strongly encourage you to read the complete Javelin Strategy blog post... and boycott TJX brand stores. I already do. Here's the list of retail stores owned by the TJX:
- A.J. Wright
- Bob's Stores
- HomeSense (Canada)
- TJ Maxx
- TK Maxx
- Winners (Canada)