… my home address that is. I’ve just had a phone call on my home number (which is separate from my business number these days) with a guy asking for me by name and asking if I had a business here. I told him yes, but I haven’t used that number for about 3 years. He then proceeded to ask if he could check my details for a new business directory website being developed. New – but they have been given old information?
No, that wasn’t the case. Turned out they had only my personal name, my home address and my home number. Nothing about my business at all. I was horrified. I’d never advertised under my personal name and home address in all the years I’ve been in business – always my business name and my postal address. So, how did these people get my details?
Well, the website is owned by a newspaper group, which also owns a number of local newspapers. Seems that since I had advertised with them sometime ago, they thought they could add my details to the website – WITHOUT my permission.
Let me explain. The advertisment was to find homes for rabbits and my name and my phone number had been given. They only had my home address because they wanted a ‘real address’ other than my postal address before placing the advert. At no time was it ever indicated that information would go on a website. And if the local newspaper was handing over details for a new business directory – why were they also handing over details for advertisements that were placed that are not business related? I was starting to see red. The poor consultant was apologising profusely and agreeing that he would seek to get it removed immediately. 30 seconds after he hung up his manager was on the phone to me – at my business number, which I’d given to the young man. He also was trying to work out how it happened and then also agreed that he would get it removed with written confirmation to my postal address – not my home address.
I then proceeded to look up the number for the local paper in question, was told to ask for the Classified Advertising Manager and spoke to his assistant. I told her I had a complaint. She immediately asked if it was in relation to the website by name and I confirmed. He’s out at lunch but will (supposedly) call me back this afternoon. My thoughts are that they’ve been getting other complaints also.
If there are privacy laws in place, what on earth makes a newspaper group think they can just place all their clients’ contact information up on a website without permission? And why hadn’t they separated out business clients from private clients first? There’s a difference between placing the advert up there (that’s if I’d been asked, which I don’t believe I had) and putting all my contact details on a site that I didn’t know existed before today. Goodness knows how long it’s been up there, but I’m not happy about it. Will be interesting to see what transpires. If you live in Victoria, Australia be aware that this could also happen to you. KMT