Burlington Coat Factory Class Action: Did Retailer Spy on Emails?

burlington coat factory lawsuit

Lawsuit Alleges Illegal Tracking of Arizona Customers' Emails

Discount retail giant Burlington Coat Factory sent “spy pixel trackers” in its emails to capture customers' sensitive information, a new lawsuit alleges.

Plaintiff Jessica Segovia filed the proposed class action lawsuit against Burlington Coat Factory Warehouse Corporation on June 6 in a New Jersey federal court, alleging violations of Arizona’s Telephone, Utility and Communication Service Records Act.

Segovia alleges that Burlington Coat Factory solicits customers to sign up for its email list. Once they sign up, the company allegedly sends potential customers emails with hidden trackers embedded within them — trackers which record private customer information, from location to IP addresses. 

“Defendant never received subscribers’ consent to collect this private information,” Segovia says.

Burlington Coat Factory Accused of 'Grotesque Invasion of Privacy'

Segovia says the practice is a breach of Arizona’s Telephone, Utility and Communication Service Records Act, which prohibits “procuring or attempting to procure the communication service records of email recipients without their authorization.”

Despite Arizona law prohibiting the practice, companies still embed trackers within emails without first obtaining consumers’ consent, the lawsuit says. 

Segovia says a 2018 Princeton study on email tracking found that about 70% of emails sent to subscriber lists contained trackers. The trackers, known as “spy pixels,” enable companies to learn information about the email transmission, including when and where the email was opened, she says. They are used to log when the recipient accesses the email and can record the number of times an email is opened, the IP address linked to a user’s location, and device usage.

Industry experts say the use of spy pixels is a “grotesque invasion of privacy,” the lawsuit states.

Pixel Trackers Used to Manipulate Shoppers, Lawsuit Claims

Segovia says she’s received promotional emails from Burlington over the past two years, and has frequently opened them to view promotions. 

What she didn’t realize is that, each time she opened an email from Burlington, she was giving the company her sensitive email information, she says. 

“Defendant’s invasive surveillance of Plaintiff’s sensitive reading habits and clandestine collection of her confidential email records invaded her privacy and intruded upon her seclusion,” the lawsuit says. 

Segovia says she believes Burlington uses spy tracking pixels made by the company Epsilon. She says Epsilon spy pixel trackers are designed to “engage and convert” consumers by monitoring “each person’s action and inaction, and moving them closer to purchase.”

Class Action Seeks Damages for Arizona Email Subscribers

This is not the first time Burlington has faced a class action lawsuit. In 2022, the retailer reached an $11 million settlement following a lawsuit that accused the company of failing to pay overtime wages. The complaint included allegations from employees who say they were denied proper overtime compensation while working for the retail giant. 

In the Burlington Coat Factory class action lawsuit, Segovia is looking to represent anyone in Arizona who has opened a marketing email containing a tracking pixel from Burlington. She is seeking certification of the class action, damages of $1,000 for each of the alleged violations, fees, costs and a jury trial.

Case Details

  • Lawsuit: Segovia v. Burlington Coat Factory Warehouse Corporation
  • Case Number: 1:24-cv-06730-CPO-MJS
  • Court: U.S. District Court for the or the District of New Jersey

Plaintiffs' Attorneys

  • Yitzchak Kopel (Bursor & Fisher P.A.)