Data Protection Muppets

I’ve mentioned this topic on my blog before with regard to the Royal Bank of Scotland and Intelligent Finance but this time it was related to an insurance claim. The insurance company put me in contact with a company that would do the repairs and all they had to do was arrange a time and date. However, it wasn’t that simple.

Initially things seemed to be going well until the company in question phoned me to change the date because they wouldn’t have the materials in time. However, first they wanted to go through security screening.

Now, the conversation to this point had gone something like this:

Me: Hello
Them: Hello, is that Colin Mackay [pronounced kae – I HATE that!]
Me: Mackay [pronounced correctly – its a diphthong, a sliding or gliding vowel that goes from ‘ah’ to ‘ee’] Yes.
Them: This is Martindales. We just need to ask you some security questions before we proceed.
Me: How do I know you are who you say you are?
Them: We are Martindales, your insurance company has appointed us…

The conversation went from bad to worse as I tried to explain that what they are doing is socially conditioning people to hand out sensitive information and was then told that they “had to” ask these questions because of the data protection act. The act makes no such requirement. What they have to do is ensure that they are speaking to the correct person so they don’t divulge potentially sensitive information to the wrong person. However, the way they are going about it, while technically in line with the act, is most certainly not within the spirit of the act.

What made it worst was that when I was asked how they could continue the conversation and I gave the solution they had to ask me no fewer than 3 times how they were going to continue the conversation even although I had given them a solution. After that incident they decided they must not have like my simple solution and refused to communicate with me at all for a while.

My solution, incidentally, was this. They would phone me and indicate that they need to speak to me. I would then get the phone number from existing documentation (i.e. a trusted source) and phone their switchboard and ask to be put through to the person that needed to talk to me. They can then go through the security questions as I will then know I am talking to the correct party. When they phone me I have no way of knowing who I am talking to. They could be making it up. If they give me a phone number to use I won’t use it. I will only use trusted sources like documentation from my insurance company, or from the booklet that the insurance assessor left me.

Anyway, Martindales eventually decided that they did need to communicate with me about yet another change in date and sent me a letter. Pity it didn’t arrive until two days after the guy was supposed to show up. In fact he did almost arrive, and I only knew about it because they phoned me just to say that he was running a little late. Muppets!


Not the Way to Complain About a Bank

I recently read a blog post from a guy that was irritated with the customer service from his bank. And that is a fair thing to blog about. If you don’t think you are getting a good service from a company, blog about it, let the world know. Others with a similar experience will probably comment and share their experience. This publicity can often be the start of a very bright and uncomfortable light shining on the organisation in question which can lead to improved customer service.

However, if you are going to post such a thing, or comment on someone else’s blog post then please do not post copies of letters you sent to the bank containing all your financial details. That way madness (and identity fraud) lies.

If you think I’m making this up then go and read this:

If that is their attitude to their own financial safety and security then I just hope none of these people are responsibly for any of my off-shored financial information.

NOTE: This post was rescued from the Google Cache. The original date was Wednesday, 27th December, 2007.

Trying to improve a Tarnished Reputation

A few days ago I blogged about the comments a person had received on their blog when they complained about a particular bank. I was shocked by the indiscriminate nature of the information these people were publishing about themselves and I posted a comment to express my incredulity at the situation.

The comment I left was this:

I was shocked when I read some of the replies to this post. You people are crazy! There are many posts here where people have posted chunks of their financial history complete with addresses, account numbers, dates and so on. Such a lax and cavilier attitude to your own personal financial information makes me very worried for any financial information my bank has offshored.

Various people commented after I added my comment and for 10 days no-one picked up the issue that I raised. Then eventually this comment was added:

Ref: 482. Colin | December 21st, 2006

Hi Colin,

I completely agree with your observation. If somebody doesn’t have sense to protect his/her own information, how do you expect them to protect others’?


This a space where you post your opinion to make your issue public, but that doesn’t mean you will publish your vital information e.g. account number/card number/telephone mumber/fax number. This way you are inviting trouble from the identity thieves. Here we are breakling our head to secure information and you are giving it out willingly ???

If you ever have noticed posts from ICICI bank, they always ask you to write them with details to a certain email address. Have you ever pondered why they just don’t pick that up from your post and do the needful? So ICICI will not take your information from the post, then think who could get benifit from your personal financial information?

Friends, please make use of your common sense and be alert. I understad we all are fraustrated over ICICI bank but it not going to help you by publicizing your personal information. Please take care to safeguard yourself.

Colin is correct and if everybody starts thinking likewise, just imagine how many people in the offshoring industry will loose their job. Not only that, we will loose our reputation and all avenues for new business will be closed.

Friends, Please be alert.

At least someone has a sensible head on their shoulders. Now, just to try and get that message into the head of the 400+ other people that responded to that blog post. I hate to think of what is happening to my personal information that has been off-shored.

NOTE: This post was rescued from the Google Cache. The original date was Monday, 1st January, 2007.