Target Zapped with $18.5 Million Settlement Over Data Breach

Target Data Breach Phil Coale AP
Phil Coale/AP

Retail giant Target is one step closer to leaving its 2013 data breach behind with a $18.5 million settlement.

The settlement puts an end to a lawsuit led by the states of Connecticut and Illinois which charged that the department store chain was negligence in protecting its customers’ data, CNBC reported.

Target was the subject of one of the biggest data breaches to hit a U.S. retailer thus far, when in 2013 the chain lost about 40 million credit and debit card numbers of Target shoppers.

A group of states took the retailer to court citing negligence.

Along with the settlement, Target announced that the data breach cost it about $202 million.

Despite the lawsuits brought by the group of State Attorneys General, Target still has an outstanding class action suit against it filed by customers.

As a requirement of the settlement, Target will have to institute new security procedures and will have to hire a third party company to conduct a full security audit of the company’s systems.

The company’s shares fell .6 to $55.13 at the close of trading on Wednesday.

The massive expenditure required by the lawsuit is only one of the retailer’s recent troubles.

A new survey of Target’s customers found that customer satisfaction has fallen over the last year.

The survey of 2,500 Target customers showed declines across the board, including customer service, merchandise selection, and overall quality. The survey found that Target’s satisfaction level fell 383 points to 66.7 percent.

The dismal survey came weeks after the company cut the salary of CEO Brian Cornel, fired or released several top executives, shuttered several once high profile projects meant to drive the company’s future, and other actions.

The company has also experienced four straight quarters of losses. Stock prices began falling steadily after the company announced its transgender bathroom policy last year, telling customers and employees alike that men pretending to be women could use whatever bathroom or changing room they want to use at any given time.

The policy brought a boycott that garnered over a million signatures in less than two weeks.

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