A recent class action brought against FedEx Office and Print Services, Inc. demonstrates the importance of complying with the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) prohibition on printing more than the last five digits of a credit or debit card number on a customer receipt.

In 2010, a class action was filed in the US District Court for the Central District of California against FedEx Office and Print Services, Inc. The plaintiffs alleged that FedEx illegally printed the first two digits and the last four digits of customers’ credit and debit card numbers on their receipts in willful violation of FACTA. FACTA states, in part, that “no person that accepts credit cards or debit cards . . . shall print more than the last 5 digits of the card number or the expiration date upon any receipt provided to the cardholder at the point of the sale or transaction.” 15 USC § 1681c(g).

Defendant argued in its motion for summary judgment that Congress’s intent and purpose in passing Section 1681c(g) was to prevent identity theft and that its printing of the first two digits and the last four digits of the card number did not violate Congress’s intent since the first two digits of the card number only identify the brand of the card and the issuing financial institution. The court held that it would only look to the intent of Congress in passing the law if the language of FACTA was ambiguous. The court, after reviewing the statutory language, held that FACTA was unambiguous and clearly prohibited the printing of more than the last five digits of the card number.

Defendant also argued that the case should be dismissed because the plaintiffs were unable to show that they had suffered actual harm. The court dismissed this argument as well and held proof of actual harm or damages was unnecessary. FACTA incorporates the Fair Credit Reporting Act’s (FCRA) statutory damages provision, which allows a consumer to recover damages between $100 and $1,000 for each willful violation of FACTA without having to prove actual damages. Ensuring proactive compliance with FACTA is crucial because a large number of non-compliant receipts may be printed before the problem is brought to a company’s attention.