Yeti Faces Lawsuit For Sharing Customer’s Personal Information

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Yeti Coolers Accused of Exposing Customers’ Data, Violating Consumer Trust and California Privacy Laws

Sharing your credit card information and address for online shopping has become an almost unavoidable part of life for many people. But no matter how used to it we get, we still need to be aware of how companies are using that data in order to protect ourselves online. 

One Yeti Coolers shopper discovered, to her surprise, that the outdoor equipment company was sharing her personal information with a third party, which added it to a network available to other businesses. The move violates California’s privacy laws, the shopper is arguing in a new proposed class action lawsuit. 

Data added to network

Taylor Smith of Kelseyville, California, filed the lawsuit accusing Yeti of “knowingly and willfully” helping a third party to intercept confidential consumer communications, including sensitive financial information. Smith says when she bought a Yeti water bottle online she paid via credit card, expecting that the company would keep her information private. “However, Defendant disclosed such information to a third party, Adyen, without Ms. Taylor’s knowledge or consent,” the lawsuit argues. 

Adyen, a Dutch payment company, is an online payment processing platform that “intercepts and indefinitely stores consumer PII and financial information into its fraud prevention network,” Smith argues in the lawsuit. “Adyen then monetizes this consumer information by incorporating it into its database and marketing its fraud prevention services (which utilize this data) to other merchants.”

She argues that consumers have a right to know if private companies intend on sharing their sensitive information with third parties, and Yeti does not do that. 

From purchase to privacy invasion

Per the lawsuit, despite an explosion in online shopping, many retailers fail to ensure the safety of consumer data leading to more than half of all Americans suffering from a data breach. The average cost is $146.50 per person. 

“From these hacks, only fraudsters benefit, with identity thieves buying and selling personal information ‘by the millions’ through illicit, online marketplaces.”

The lawsuit argues that as an industry, online retailers have failed to protect consumers’ personal information, and have gone so far as to share it voluntarily and intentionally, without obtaining consumer consent.

Other companies also hit with legal action 

As we’ve previously reported, there has been a constant stream of recent legal action taken against large companies accused of violating consumers’ privacy.  Major League Baseball Advanced Media, the entity behind MLB.tv, is facing a class-action lawsuit alleging that it violated privacy laws by sharing subscribers' personal viewing information with Facebook without the consent of its viewers.

Meanwhile Eyemart Express, LLC is facing a class action lawsuit accusing the company of using sophisticated tracking tools on its website to intercept communications between its users and the site, all without the users' knowledge or consent. And the maker of the globally popular video game Fortnite is also in the hot seat, with a new lawsuit alleging the company uses children’s data to track them online and exploit that information for its own financial gain, raking in tens of millions in revenue.

This isn’t the first time Yeti has had to front up to consumers about issues. In 2023, the company had to recall 1.9 million soft coolers and gear cases due to a deadly risk: their magnets could detach from the coolers and cases and be swallowed.

What protections can you take 

While the CIPA law was enacted to protect the privacy rights of California citizens, and residents should absolutely use it to tackle violations, there are also some quick steps you can take to increase privacy protections. 

  1. Check privacy policies on any website before entering your information
  2. Use strong passwords and multi factor authentication
  3. Limit what is publicly available in your privacy settings
  4. Delete some apps and use a browser instead
  5. Turn off ad personalization
  6. Opt out of data broker’s lists

Smith wants to represent other California residents in her proposed class action lawsuit.

The plaintiff and proposed class are represented by Sarah N. Westcot and Stephen A. Beck of Bursor & Fisher, P.A.

The Yeti data sharing proposed class action lawsuit is Smith v. Yeti Coolers, LLC, Case No. 1:24-cv-01703-RMI, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

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