What is considered acceptable use of personal information?
Under the privacy laws of Canada, a creditor is not allowed to share your personal information with a third party without your permission. It most cases you must sign an agreement or if it’s in the case of a service you signed up online, it must be in the small print and you must have accepted those terms. (Getting a phone or utility account is an example). But if you borrow $1000 from a guy named ‘Bob’, he cannot share your information with any third party unless he optains a judgement against you unless you have a contract with ‘Bob’ that states he can use a third party collection agency if you don’t pay up.
As an example I will use a situation that occurred with D&A Collections.
From other posts, you will learn that its the CONSUMER that controls what is on their credit rating, so when I starting having problems myself because of a hit and run driver in 2009, and I was starting to fall behind, I made sure my credit accounts where updated with the information that I wanted to ensure that I could work on getting back on track and not dealing with companies, collections and their robots who would be calling non-stop to get money. If you have ever been in a difficult situation financially, you know the calls, the ones that make you feel like you are a splat of bird pooh on a new car, because you made a “choice to deliberately not pay your good Samaritan creditors”.
D&A Collection Corporation was the ONLY company that actually optained my real phone number.
I was shocked when it happened. I answered my phone in 2011 and a young woman asked for me by name. When I said “speaking”, she proceeded to instruct me that it was imperative I pay off a old Dell Financial Debt immediately to avoid a lawsuit.
“What? Dell Financial I said? How did you get this number? Who is this?”, I said.
She repeated her spiel in a rude manner and proceeded to tell me that since I didn’t pay my debt that I would be sued.
I interrupted her at this point and said I refused to discuss this manner any further until she told me how she got my unlisted private number that is not on my credit file.
Her answer was, we had it on file, sent from Dell Financial.
At this point I informed her that the debt was in dispute and to proceed through legal proceeding and eventually hung up after her repeated demands to pay. This woman was not talking no for an answer to a debt that a). Written off and b). Three years over the statute of limitations.
I was stumped though as the cell number in question was not mine when my problems began.
Cue GoodLife Fitness.
It took me at least a month to try and figure out how this woman from D&A Collection Corporation got my number, and it wasn’t until I was packing to move that I found a letter that was sent from D&A Collection Corporation from ten months earlier.
It was letter telling me I owed GoodLife Fitness $48 and if I didn’t pay it would go onto my credit file. $48 that was a billing error on behalf of GoodLife fitness from a membership club change I had done between two GoodLife locations.
Anyway, long story short, GoodLife corrected the error and when I contacted D&A Collection Corporation they assured me it was an error that GoodLife had corrected.
Ok, so here we have GoodLife Fitness who sent my account to a collector on an error and we have a collector who has the personal information that GoodLife Fitness sent to them. Shouldn’t it stand to reason that since this was a billing error that D&A Collection Corporation should have deleted my personal information from their system? I had a 705 FICO score at this point and no collections. I had good credit, so why did D&A Collection Corporation NOT purge my PERSONAL information from their system?
This is a question I still have to this day as in my mind it is BEYOND acceptable use of personal information. D&A Collection Corporation appears to be in the practice of stock piling any personal information sent their way, regardless if it was done in error and if the information is for someone who has good credit.
I did make a privacy complaint with the Privacy Commission of Canada which has yet to be resolved.
In regards to the old Dell Financial debt, D&A Collections still calls sometimes, but the number is associated with a SPAM content and doesn’t actually ring. They have also never sent me any mail or filed a lawsuit.