Safeway Sued for Not Alerting Club Card Users to Recall
Some retailers with loyalty programs have pointed to their
ability to directly notify card holders of recalls as a plus.
Many, in fact, have publicized how quickly they were able to alert consumers
of potential problems using the data on hand. But, in an odd twist on that
benefit, Safeway is the subject of a suit for not alerting its card holders
of a recall.
The suit filed in California Superior Court last week is being
brought by a Safeway customer in Montana and another in California asking the
court to make the grocery store operator pay damages for consumers not receiving
a credit or refund for recalled products as well as punitive damages. The customer
from Montana purchased peanut butter crackers and cookies included in a recall
and the California shopper bought tainted eggs.
“I assume that the foods we bring home from Safeway will be safe to
Dee Hensley-Maclean, one of the two women bringing the suit, in a press release. “If
Safeway knows that there is a problem, and they know how to get in touch with
me, quite frankly I’m astonished that they wouldn’t try to spare
me or my children from a preventable foodborne illness.”
The Center for
Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), which filed the suit last week on behalf
of the two Safeway customers, said it had alerted the company it might file
a suit back in May if it did not start alerting card holders of recalls. CSPI
argues that refusing to notify consumers they are at risk from tainted food
is a violation of California’s Business and Professions
Code as well as some federal statutes.
“Safeway aggressively uses its club card data to churn out coupons, analyze
its customers’ shopping habits, and otherwise boost sales,” said Steve
Gardner, litigation director for CSPI. “Yet when it knows it has sold
products that may be contaminated with E. coli, salmonella, or other hazards,
it does not use its robust marketing database to prevent illnesses or deaths.
That is hardly the ‘safe way’ and just shows Safeway’s reckless disregard for
the health and safety of its shoppers.”
- Safeway Sued for Failure to Notify Consumers of Recalled Food – Center
for Science in the Public Interest
- Safeway sued over recall notification – UPI
- Safeway threatened with lawsuit over recall notifications – King 5 News
Discussion Questions: What is your reaction to the lawsuit being brought against Safeway? Do you think this action will change the way Safeway and other retailers use loyalty card data from here on in?