Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster rails against RadioShack’s plan to sell customer information
As a testament to the pathetic state of RadioShack’s business affairs, the bankrupt electronics retailer thinks that selling customer information is a reasonable way to drum up cash to pay its long line of creditors.
Consumer watchdogs and law-enforcement officials aren’t so sure.
Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster joined other colleagues on Wednesday morning when his official objection to RadioShack’s planned customer-data sale was filed in federal bankruptcy court in Delaware.
Koster’s pleading says RadioShack’s idea to sell personal information from 117 million customers runs against the company’s promise to keep said information private.
“Consumers should be able to rely upon a company’s promise that their personal information will never be sold,” Koster said in a written statement. “Radio Shack’s plan to sell its customers’ data, despite promising that it would never do so, is an outrageous violation of trust and cannot be tolerated.”
RadioShack filed for bankruptcy last month after struggling to keep up with emerging alternatives for buying electronics. Much of RadioShack’s inventory, novelties like police scanners, weren’t appealing enough to stave off a years-long slide in corporate revenues.
Corporate bankruptcy is a long process of creditors trying to pick off whatever meat is left on the bones of a failed company. Selling assets, piece by piece, is a common method of trying to square things away with creditors, often for only pennies on the dollar.
That explains why auctioning off consumer data looks like a good idea for RadioShack, a company with fewer and fewer assets to sell. Hilco Streambank, a firm that’s helping manage RadioShack’s bankruptcy, lists “customer databases” among the assets up for sale.
Yes, this is the same RadioShack that Overland Park’s Sprint thinks is a worthwhile co-branding partner.