Beyond Discounts: TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Homegoods Accused of Spying on Customers Through Emails

TJ Maxx, Marshalls, others accused of spying on customers

Lawsuit Claims Email Pixels Track Consumers in Violation of Privacy Law

By opening an email sent from TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Homegoods, Sierra, or Homesense, consumers are exposing themselves to more than just a possible bargain, with a new lawsuit alleging the brands’ parent company is tracking consumers through email pixels and violating Arizona's privacy laws.

Invasion of privacy through email “pixels”

The lawsuit, filed by Arizona resident Arlette Campos, accuses TJX Companies (the parent company of TJ Maxx, Marshalls, HomeGoods, Sierra, and Homesense) of installing "spy pixels" within emails. These pixels collect sensitive information about recipients, including:

  • When and where emails are opened
  • How long emails are viewed
  • Recipient location
  • Email client type
  • IP address
  • Device information

Campos claims she never consented to this data collection, which she considers an "invasive surveillance" of her "sensitive reading habits."

What are email pixels and why are they a problem?

Email pixels are tiny images embedded within emails. Often invisible to the naked eye, they download when an email is opened, allowing companies to track recipient activity. This practice raises privacy concerns, as it gathers data without explicit user consent.

According to the lawsuit, Arizona law prohibits such practices. A 2018 Princeton study found that 70% of marketing emails contain trackers, highlighting the widespread use of this technology.

How to protect yourself from email tracking

While regulations are limited, there are steps you can take to minimize email tracking. Many email platforms allow users to disable automatic image loading. This prevents email pixels from downloading when you open an email, potentially reducing the amount of data companies can collect on you.

The lack of effective regulations against email tracking has led to a creative solution. As Bloomberg Law reports, decades-old laws, like Arizona's Telephone, Utility and Communication Service Records Act, are being revived to address these new commercial surveillance practices. These laws, originally designed for a different era, are being reinterpreted to hold companies accountable in the digital age.

TJ Maxx, Marshalls, other companies face growing scrutiny

This lawsuit isn't the first time TJX Companies has faced legal challenges. In recent years, the company has been involved in:

Additionally, Home Depot, Inc. and Validity, Inc. were hit with class action lawsuits this year alleging violations of the same law, with a consumer saying the companies enabled spy tracking pixels in marketing emails without consent. Rite Aid Corporation and Saks are facing similar complaints. Meanwhile, Novant Health, a major hospital system in North Carolina, agreed to a $6.6 million dollar settlement with patients for using email pixels. 

In this lawsuit, Campos is suing for actual damages or damages of $1,000.00 for each of the company’s violations, whichever is more. She wants to represent consumers within the state of Arizona.

The plaintiff and class are represented by Joel D. Smith of Smith Krivoshey, P.C. and Yitzchak Kopel, Alec M. Leslie, and Israel Rosenberg of Bursor & Fisher, P.A.

The TJMaxx, Marshalls customer tracking proposed class action lawsuit is Campos v. TJX Companies, Inc., Case No. 1:24-cv-11067 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.



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