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Consumers Hold Retailers Responsible for Data Breaches
12 Jul
If you hesitated to shop at Target after their massive payment security data breach last winter, you weren’t alone. Customers hold merchants largely responsible for security issues and blame them more than banks when payment information gets stolen.

Business communications firm Brunswick Group did a survey to find out who people blamed for data theft and found that most people think retailers aren’t doing enough to protect their payment information.

The vast majority of people – 94% – are worried about merchant data breaches. When asked who should be held responsible for these incidents, 61% said that retailers were at fault, while 34% laid the blame on card-issuing banks.

Seventy-five percent of those surveyed thought that stores could do more to keep consumer payment data safe, and 70% want stores to be liable for any losses that result from these payment breaches.

As it stands now, banks that issue credit and debit cards are the ones to take the fall, financially speaking, when their customers’ accounts are hacked. If customers follow the outlined procedures and report losses in a timely fashion, banks must reimburse them for any fraudulent charges to their accounts.

Many steer clear of stores with payment problems

On refraining from shopping at certain retailers after a payment security breach, 34% of people said they no longer shop at certain stores, specifically because of data breach issues.

Stores like Target and Neiman Marcus, both victims of huge data breaches in the last year, are trying to win customers’ trust back by offering free credit monitoring products and switching over to new, more secure EMV chip card technology instead of traditional magnetic stripe cards. However, that approach doesn’t seem to be enough for some shoppers.

The report from Brunswick Group showed a significant drop in stock price for 13 companies that have recently experienced large data breaches. Even six months after the breach, none of the companies had rebounded to their previous average daily stock price. As Mark Seifert, a partner at the Brunswick Group, explained, "a data breach hits a company at the cash register, on Wall Street and at the heart of their relationship with the customer. If consumers don't feel the retailer is doing enough to protect their data, they will protect themselves by shopping elsewhere."

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