28th Jun 2016
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Credit company under fire for allegedly selling private information
Credit company under fire for allegedly selling private information

Accessing your free annual credit report may actually come at the cost of your private data being sold to banks and other companies.

Privacy advocates are criticising online credit reporting company Veda after an ANZ representative admitted to receiving a customer’s personal details from the agency.

One such customer, who believed he had been extremely careful with his information, was sent a personalised letter from the ANZ bank asking him if he’d like to become a ‘platinum member’.

The customer, who is being referred to by Fairfax Media as Simon, was surprised at the personal detail included in this invitation, so he contacted the bank and, after weeks of hassling, eventually found out that the information was passed on to the bank by Veda.

"I got the letter a few weeks after I bought my personal credit report from Veda which I needed for a new contract," said Simon. "I feel my privacy's been breached, but I did fill out the form in a rush because I was under pressure, so they may have gotten my consent without me realising."

By law, Australians have the right to access a free, once-yearly credit report. Many do this by filling out an online form, often through agencies such as Veda. Simon believes he must not have unchecked a pre-ticked box at the bottom of the form which gave permission to Veda to pass on his details to its ‘corporate partners’ for marketing purposes.

Credit reporting agencies, such as Veda, are prohibited by law from selling credit information for marketing purposes.

According to Professor of Law at Monash University, Justin Malbon, it was highly likely that Veda knew that placing a pre-ticked box on the form would mean more people would give their consent, albeit unknowingly.

"Many behavioural studies show there's an inertia and a 'not noticing', leading to more people leaving it ticked and giving their consent," said Professor Malbon. "If you turned the other way and asked people to opt-in, you're going to get far less people."

And although customers should be cautious when filling out such forms, according to Fairfax Media, the box wasn’t pre-ticked until recently.

The Financial Rights Legal Centre’s Kat Lane has called on Veda to remove the pre-ticked box altogether.

"You're getting your free credit report that we're allowed once every 12 months under the law, and they're using it as a marketing opportunity," said Ms Lane. "How on earth is it relevant to getting your free credit report? That's just misleading."

A Veda spokesperson has denied any wrongdoing, claiming that, "Veda's approach is in accordance with its obligations under the Privacy Act and the Australian Privacy Principles."

There are also fears that privacy is being further breached by Veda, after reports last week that the NAB was being informed by the credit reporting agency each time a business banking customer approached a rival financial institution about business loans.

Instances such as these are reasons why Opposition leader Bill Shorten has called for a royal commission into banking practices – a measure that has been dismissed by the Coalition.

Are you worried that your personal information is being sold? Do you practice caution when filling out online forms such as a free credit report? Is it the responsibility of the customer to safeguard their personal information? Do you think this is a dodgy practice? Do you think we need a watchdog or royal commission into banking practices?

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    COMMENTS

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    TREBOR
    28th Jun 2016
    10:11am
    Of course it is - just another commodity and an area in which government's over-focus on 'privacy' is sadly lacking. Government focus on 'privacy' only means their restricting access to information and being able to do with it as they choose behind closed doors.

    Sign of an oppressive government.....
    ray from Bondi
    28th Jun 2016
    11:38am
    I agree and would like to add the word Orwellian after oppressive.
    Tom Tank
    28th Jun 2016
    1:08pm
    welcome to the world of unrestrained Capitalism.
    particolor
    28th Jun 2016
    3:39pm
    They cant even run an Election Campaign now, without Falsely Scandalizing someone or at least Belittling them ! :-( :-(
    KSS
    28th Jun 2016
    1:28pm
    Anyone who collects your information by any means MUST tell you for what purpose they are collecting it and they can only use it for that purpose under the law.

    However, there is little doubt that this right is violated everyday by organisations of all sizes. As an example, whilst house hunting, you turn up at open houses and have to supply at a minimum your name, address, e-mail and telephone number. I did this. Ostensibly the reasons for collecting this information is two fold, a record of those through the property and when (in case of disputes at a later date and to show the seller how many views the house had etc) and also for the agent to send you other properties you may be interested in. That's it!. Sometime time later, like about a year or so, and after I had purchased my unit, I received an e-mail from one of the sales people (who I had never had any contact with) asking for sponsorship of him to complete a sporting event (a marathon or the like). I was angry enough to complain to the agent owner, and the Privacy Commission about this clear breach of my privacy where a staff member had obviously accessed the company data base for his own ends. I got no-where with either complaint. The agency owner wasn't bothered and the Privacy Commission could not intervene because the law does NOT apply to organisations or businesses with a revenue of less that $1m!! As it happens the Commission did send a letter to the agent warning them of the responsibilities under privacy legislation but there was no further action that could be taken under the law, even if ALL other people on that data base complained.

    Our personal information and behavioural data is bought and sold all the time and the only time there is any real protection of information is when you are trying to sort out an issue and you are refused any meaningful information due to the imposition of 'privacy legislation'!
    Poppa Bear
    28th Jun 2016
    1:37pm
    We once had the situation where our local Council was selling our personal information to any and all takers.
    particolor
    28th Jun 2016
    3:30pm
    The Mayor has no clothes !! :-)

    28th Jun 2016
    2:05pm
    If my private data is being sold, someone is being fleeced, and it isn't me.
    Budwah
    28th Jun 2016
    3:07pm
    I received election propaganda from the liberal party yesterday along with my bank statement (not in the one envelope).
    Looking at both letters there was a great similarity within the address aarea. Both had the same barcode and numbering above my name.
    So I started to wonder if my bank was letting political parties have access to their customer data base?
    Nothing would surprise me these days.
    KSS
    28th Jun 2016
    3:31pm
    Political parties can get personal details from the electoral roll.
    particolor
    28th Jun 2016
    3:35pm
    Honesty on this Planet has Drifted off into Space :-( :-(
    Parti..28-6-2016.
    particolor
    28th Jun 2016
    3:28pm
    Too Right it is !! You can tell by the Adds that pop up on the Sites You visit !! But I'm buggered if I know where they get the Idea that I want a Russian Bride !! :-) :-) :-)
    JAID
    28th Jun 2016
    3:59pm
    Sad that we need things like Royal Commissions when any with the most basic level of integrity would hope not to spread others private information about the place. When they put it up for sale they must know that makes them thieves regardless of any law or standard practices.

    May the coalition get an effective watchdog into the act even if they dont go down the Royal Commission track.
    particolor
    28th Jun 2016
    4:15pm
    Its come the point where Who is going to Police the Polices, Police that are watching the Polices Police ?? :-( O DEAR !! :-)

    28th Jun 2016
    4:55pm
    Politics is the gentle art of getting vote from the poor and campaign funds from the rich, by promising to protect each from the other.
    particolor
    28th Jun 2016
    5:08pm
    Robin Hood had a Rethink ? And is now working for the Sheriff :-)
    Janran
    28th Jun 2016
    6:34pm
    Funny and clever, Fast Eddie, but I would call it underhand, definitely not gentle.

    Banks and the Liberal Party are the Grim Reapers of honesty and fairness these days. People are just gullible losers if they believe them, unless they are rich and profit from/with these institutions.

    Please don't vote for them - they shouldn't be encouraged in any way or form. And yes, bring on the Royal Commission into Financial Services, before the Libs give the big four banks $$$billions of our hard-earned taxes, as if we haven't already been fleeced by the banks.
    Charlie
    28th Jun 2016
    6:13pm
    My whole system is being monitored. If I do a google search to look at a product, a picture of that product keeps appearing on the side of my face book page every day. Trying to entice me to buy it.
    particolor
    28th Jun 2016
    6:20pm
    Sue them for Inside Information !! :-) :-)
    GrayComputing
    29th Jun 2016
    10:57am
    Every access we do to any web service like Google or Yahoo is noticed and our habits are tracked and they are for sale to advertisers. The same for any web purchases we do. There is no free lunch on the web you pay by loosing your privacy and every web access adds another bit to your digital footprint.
    PIXAPD
    29th Jun 2016
    1:15pm
    I owe nothing and don't use credit, I leave that to the fools and losers in society who can't manage their budget.
    particolor
    29th Jun 2016
    6:10pm
    Same !! :-)
    Aussie
    4th Jul 2016
    5:05pm
    PIXAPD, So you do not have anything ???? I do not believe you you do have property and/or some investments or Super income ????? Something

    Christians do not lie I guess on your bible book only ...Quote "the fools and losers in society" can lie correct Ummmm very suspect Christian

    Very funny Christian he he he he he he
    particolor
    4th Jul 2016
    5:15pm
    And I only meant the Credit bit ! If I haven't got the Money for it I cant afford it !! :-)
    Aussie
    29th Jun 2016
    8:51pm
    As I posted before within other subject WE NEED A BILL OF RIGHTS IN AUSTRALIA
    Without one anybody will turn things around and privacy is a dream.
    Lookfar
    6th Jul 2016
    4:28pm
    To be fair, a bill of Rights should include a bill of Duties, as Duties are the other side of Rights and it should also be widely debated because feelings are involved, perhaps a social contract or such could evolve, with some preparing to do some duties for some rights and others more duties for more rights, as long as everyone gets the right to survive reasonably OK. and then those prepared to do more Duties can get a bit more Rights?
    Aussie
    6th Jul 2016
    4:46pm
    Lookfar The Bill is a paper defining all rights and duties of a citizen no more no less for example

    Me as a citizen have the right of reunion anywhere any time ... this means that I can sit down with a few friends any time on the street chatting or whatever as long as we are not breaking the law is our right to do or
    Write of expression without insulting or braking the law any where anytime. In Australia now you must be up on a box (Up from the ground) to have that right and I think only in some approved areas ??? not sure on that.

    A few sites to have a look

    http://www.australiancollaboration.com.au/pdf/Democracy/Charter-human-rights.pdf

    This is good
    http://www.legalanswers.sl.nsw.gov.au/hot_topics/pdf/bill_rights_54.pdf

    Have a look very interesting because in Australia our rights are build on the constitution and not all of them and not clear so became a problem of interpretation but with the specific bill of rights there will be no questions at all
    Lookfar
    6th Jul 2016
    6:33pm
    Hi Aussie, I was in a group looking at the constitution when the Whitlam govt was sacked by that Kerr person, and we thought many deep changes need to happen, and also that it was not helpful to try and work from the current constitution as there were too many assumptions built in which have no current relevance, so making it difficult to move on. - no comment being made on your links the which I have not yet read, -
    I must admit also liking the Law of Torts, "A has a Responsibility to B, to take care", so, I am open to new ideas although my time is a bit limited, but wish you well and hope to hear more from you.
    Cheers,
    Geoff.
    Aussie
    6th Jul 2016
    11:51pm
    Hi Lookfar,
    People do not care we still in a dream of the lucky country our constitution is so out of date for the new world reality that is not a joke ..... This is small extract of one of the attached docos ...

    Most of the principles of the Australian Constitution are derived from the British constitution. That constitution is not unwritten, as is often claimed. It includes a number of fundamental documents, such as the Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights 1688, the Act of Settlement, the Reform Act, and so on. But generally, the British constitution has rested not upon written documents but upon the principle of the sovereignty of an elected Parliament.

    When the Australian constitution was being designed, there were three elements which marked it off from the United States precedent from which much was derived. The fact that the Federal Commonwealth would be established under the Crown. The fact that the Executive would sit in Parliament. And the rejection of a notion of a general bill of rights.

    Have a look the complete docos lots of interesting info.
    I very strongly believe that Australia has a lot to learn from other Real democracies of the world because as you know we are not a democracy as everybody knows we are only a constitutional monarchy have a look we are not a democratic country we just follow some of the democratic principles without the support of the Bill of rights for the citizens...

    http://australianpolitics.com/democracy/key-terms/constitutional-monarchy

    The following docos defines the history of the Australian bill or rights ......http://www.lawfoundation.net.au/ljf/app/9CB5AFA66DE49D82CA2571A9000C12FB.html

    And finally this complete a simple collection of relevant info about the Bill or rights.

    http://evatt.org.au/papers/should-australia-have-bill-rights.html

    But everybody call Australia a Democracy ??? including all our politicians ??? I am not sure if a constitutional-monarchy refers to a Democratic Country like USA France and many many other real democracies that have the bill of rights to define the position as Duties and Rights of all citizen.

    In Australia the authorities can make anything they want and included in a package call the law or the police can make up any new charges if they want to take you in and that's it but what about the define rights and duties as citizens ????? not where is defined and approved document.

    Sorry mate but I am a firm believer that Australia lacks of constitutional guarantees to their citizens and authorities can do almost what they want including our politicians ....an example is this election they do not have the right to play with our lives or our pension rights including superannuation and Medicare which is the safety net for your health issues and more and more I could write all night but I guess you need to sleep he he he he

    Have fun my friend
    Lookfar
    4th Jul 2016
    4:06pm
    I have found that the VEDA form somehow has problems unless you check that sneaky little box at the bottom or wherever it is, although they assure you it is something else, you can still never get the report.
    Theft by another name? - you have to buy your free credit form by providing them lotsa info they can sell to other people who can then harass you for money.
    Aussie
    6th Jul 2016
    11:59pm
    There it is a simple and very real example of the lack of bill of rights (BOR) in Australia.
    VEDA with the support of the gov. can have your records available to anybody that pay for over 7 years ...wowowo do we have any rights ??? no because we do not have the BOR that can defend us from this type of legal intimidation and power.

    Mate we are stuffed he he he he all you have to do is call a lender and ask for information about a loan and that is it your name is on the record ... I try that with St George bank and request info and I provide my details including financial details and that it ...on record.
    I did not apply I only request information ...you work that out I call the bank and VEDA they told me that that is the law ??? what law ???
    Lookfar
    9th Jul 2016
    2:40pm
    To follow that theme, why I tried to get my credit info from Veda was that my bank refused an overdraft extension that they had advertised on my/their page fr my account, a situation arose, and they claimed I had a bad credit record, - I found out that they were so advised by a collection agency called Baycorp, which had apparently bought a disputed bill from Sensis, - sensis had double billed me twice, first time I didn't realise, second time they sent me proof, I then paid but realised later that they had included the bill from the previous year, the which I had paid already, ($500;) so I said to them that from now on I required a receipt or I would cancel my accounts, they agreed, but on my next account they sent no receipt nor statement of account, I rang them, they claimed they did not have to send a receipt, so I told them to finish up my account, I would not require their services any more but they put me in for another year, claimed I had to have put it in writing to cancel, - but they had not sent me the normal confirmation, whatever, I would not pay for the unwanted year and after many acrimonious calls back and forth they sold the disputed bill to Baycorp, who rang me several times daily, - they had no judgement, they had no statement of account, I threatened to report them for stalking, but even still they tried every few months or so for years.
    Apparently they then registered me as a credit risk for not paying, so I can no longer get a loan from any bank, - fortunately I don't really need a loan, but for anybody needing a loan for a house or such, they would have to pay this bunch of thieves without having any legal redress.
    I am disgusted with the ANZ bank for taking such an organisation's say over their (ANZ's) trusted customer of decades.
    How do Baycorp get away with it? Because they can.
    Aussie
    9th Jul 2016
    5:12pm
    Yes mate they can do anything they want and they are supported by law ??? No bill of rights and more of this stuff will continue to happen.
    If you pay your deads the record should be clear as your right as a citizen same as when you get bankrupt the record should be clear after a few years but no records will be for life .....

    Crazy but this is the country we live on ...the lucky country ...Yeahhh sure no more a lucky country


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