The Korea Herald


Homeplus faces class action suit

By Suk Gee-hyun

Published : March 3, 2015 - 19:11

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Local consumer groups are planning to file a class action suit against Homeplus, the South Korean supermarket chain owned by British retail giant Tesco, for the firm’s alleged illegal gathering and selling of customer information to third parties.

Ten consumer groups affiliated with the Korea National Council of Consumer Organizations said Monday they were gathering participants in a suit to demand compensation for the retailer’s sale of their private information.

Homeplus is accused of collecting and selling customers’ information, including names, phone numbers, birthdays and details of family members, collected through giveaway events and membership registrations.
A Homeplus outlet in Seoul. (Homeplus) A Homeplus outlet in Seoul. (Homeplus)

“We hope this lawsuit serves as an opportunity to raise the alarm on Homeplus’ illegal acts and to root out unethical practices in the industry,” the KNCCO group said in a statement.

The group’s officials added that it was also seeking to file a suit against Tesco, Homeplus’ parent company, in association with Which?, a British consumer group.

Earlier last month, prosecutors indicted six former and incumbent Homeplus officials and two insurance firm employees for trading the information of some 24 million customers in return for 23 billion won ($20.8 million).

“We will announce our official stance once they file the suit,” Homeplus spokesman Kang Jong-ho said.

Separately, prosecutors are investigating two other retail giants, E-mart and Lotte Mart, for the same charges.

Last week, the Seoul YMCA filed a suit against E-mart and Lotte Mart for allegedly raising 6.6 billion won and 2.3 billion won, respectively, for handing over customers’ information to insurance firms.

The group claimed the retailers gathered the information through events requiring consumers to submit their private information, and sold them for 2,000 won per person.

By Suk Gee-hyun (