(KMOV.com) – St. Louis area-based grocery store chain Schnucks is now the defendant in a lawsuit claiming the company did not do enough to inform the public of the estimated 2.4 million credit and debit cards that were compromised at their stores over a four-month period beginning late last year.
Five plaintiffs in the 21-page lawsuit are looking for $5 million in personal injury damage. They allege Schnucks failed to “secure customers’ private financial information" and are also upset it took so long for the company to address the problems.
Under state law, a company in Missouri is required to inform anyone whose personal information is breached of the information that was released. But Schnucks says in this particular case, only financial data – including expiration dates and payment card numbers - was stolen. The company said because personal information was not compromised, the rules of notification would not apply.
According to a timeline Schnucks sent to News 4, the company first learned on March 15 of questionable activity and began an investigation on March 19. Schnucks said in pinpointed the problem on March 28 and executed a plan to contain it within 36 hours.
The company said from December 2012 to March 29, 79 of their 100 stores were affected by credit and debit card thieves. Out of the 79 stores, 58 of them were in the St. Louis Metropolitan area.
Click here for a full list of those stores affected by the fraud.
Officials said 54 stores in Missouri and 23 stores in Illinois were affected total. Stores were also affected in Iowa, Indiana and Wisconsin.
Many customers have questioned why they weren’t informed earlier.
In a press release, Schnucks Chairman and CEO Scott Schnuck apologized to customers and said the company believes the problem has been fixed.
“On behalf of myself, the Schnuck family, and all of our 15,000 teammates, I apologize to everyone affected by this incident,” said Schnuck. “Over the years, technology has helped us deliver superior customer service, but it also introduces risks that we have actively worked to manage through compliance audits, encryption technology and various other security measures.”
Schnucks has set up a call line for customers to use for any questions. The number is 1-888-414-8022. The line is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5p.m. and the weekend of April 20-21 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.