- The company’s troubles seem unending as a new lawsuit is being filed against it
- It accuses GameStop of wiretapping live chats without the users’ knowledge and consent
- The data is allegedly used to create personalized marketing profiles
A recent lawsuit accuses GameStop of secretly recording customer support chats without the users’ consent and selling it to a third-party company.
GameStop Is Under Fire
To say that GameStop has not been fairing well over the past few years would be an understatement. The company used to be the premier store to buy copies of video games and other video game paraphernalia, but with the rise of online distribution and platforms such as Steam or Epic Store, the company has been reporting more and more losses. Barring the one short time when Redditors blew up GameStop’s shares last year, the company is still somewhat struggling financially.
The bad news doesn’t seem to stop as this week the company is being sued in the state of California for infringing California’s Invasion of Privacy Act. As Bloomberg’s Samantha Hawkins explains, the lawsuit was filed by Miguel Licea in the California federal court alleging that GameStop secretly logged customer service chats.
The company then allegedly shared the chat transcripts with a third-party company that mined the transcripts for personal data. This data was gathered without the user’s consent with the aim of using it for personalized marketing and targeted advertisement.
What Details Do We Know So Far?
GameStop’s website has a chat function that many users prefer to quickly sort out any problems they might have instead of using email or phone. It is widely used as it’s regarded as being generally a faster option to resolve simple issues. The large traffic makes it a prime target for analytics companies who need lots of raw data to make personalized marketing profiles for individual customers.
If the allegations are correct, then GameStop has been providing this data to a third-party company called Zendesk without the consent of its customers. The suit reads: “Going from bad to worse, Defendant shares the secret transcripts with Zendesk, a third party that publicly boasts about its ability to harvest highly personal data from chat transcripts for sales and marketing purposes. Rather than merely providing a software service, Defendant allows Zendesk to intercept and use the secret transcripts.”
The recording or tapping of private communication without the consent of all parties involved is strictly forbidden by California’s Invasion of Privacy Act. It will take time before the lawsuit is accepted in court, only to be most likely followed by a lengthy investigation. It’s interesting to note that GameStop’s chat function in the “Contact Us” section of its website is disabled, only reading “Sorry, we are not online at the moment” at the time of writing this article.
Regardless of what the result of this suit is, it’s still another hurdle in GameStop’s business.