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Michaels class action lawsuit alleges website invades consumer data privacy using ‘session replay’ spyware


Exterior of a Michales store against a blue sky.
(Photo credit: Joni Hanebutt/Shutterstock)

Overview of the Michaels Website Session Proofreading Class Action:

  • Who: Plaintiff Jennifer Farst has filed a class action lawsuit against Michaels Stores Inc.
  • Why: Michaels allegedly uses “session replay” spyware to illegally intercept customer interactions with its website.
  • Where: The Michaels class action lawsuit was filed in federal court in Pennsylvania.

Michaels Stores Inc. uses “session replay” spyware to unlawfully intercept customer interactions with its website, according to a class action lawsuit filed Sept. 14 in federal court in Pennsylvania.

Plaintiff Jennifer Farst alleges that Michaels uses “session replay” spyware that intercepts user interactions with Michaels’ website, including mouse movements, clicks, keystrokes, search terms , as well as the pages and content they viewed on the website.

Michaels allegedly intercepted, stored, and recorded this information without the knowledge or consent of users of its website, in violation of the Pennsylvania Wiretap and Electronic Surveillance Control Act.

Michaels class action lawsuit claims collected data can essentially create a video replay of customers’ entire website visit

Farst explains that session replay spyware is not a cookie, beacon, web beacon, or traditional analytics tool. Instead, it is “sophisticated computer software that allows [Michaels] intercept, capture, read, observe, reroute, transmit, redirect and simultaneously receive incoming electronic communications to its website. »

Information gathered from customer interactions with the Michaels website may then be used by Michaels to essentially create a video replay of a customer’s entire visit to the website, according to the Michaels class action.

Farst alleges that this information is not used to monitor and discover faulty website functionality, but to capture detailed user interactions and use this information to increase engagement, maximize conversion rates and increase their profits.

According to Farst, users of the Michaels website may be exposed to identity theft, online scams and other risks if their personal information is disclosed to unauthorized third parties.

The Michaels class action lawsuit notes that in 2019, Apple threatened to remove apps from the Apple Store if the app developer did not disclose to users that the app used session replay technology.

Farst says she visited the Michaels website a dozen times in the past year and did not expect her interactions with the website to be recorded and viewed by Michaels employees. She says she was not told that her visits to the website would be recorded and that she did not give consent for Michaels to record her interactions.

Farst filed the Michaels class action lawsuit on behalf of himself and a proposed class of Pennsylvania residents who visited Michaels’ website and whose electronic communications were intercepted by Michaels (or on his behalf).

Michaels isn’t the only company to come under fire for allegedly using session replay spyware to track customer website visits. Zillow, Lowe’s and Expedia have recently been hit by session replay spyware class action lawsuits. A Old Navy Class Action also accuses the retailer of illegally monitoring and recording the keystrokes and mouse clicks of website visitors.

Have you visited the Michaels website? Tell us what you think of the allegations that Michaels uses spyware to intercept user interactions. Join the discussion in the comments!

Farst is represented by Ari H. Marcus of Marcus Zelman LLC.

The Michaels website session replays class action lawsuit is Jennifer Farst v. Michaels Stores Inc.Case No. 1:22-cv-01433-CCC, in the U.S. District Court for the Intermediate District of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg Division.



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