Tuesday, November 14, 2006

DiscoveryCard gives out confidential information to AutoPage

Today I got a phone call from AutoPage, offering me a free contract phone. This is rather sad, because the number they called is the number I got from MTN after having a big fight with AutoPage about their 24 month contract that is actually a 25 month contract. But that's another story.
It turns out that the "promotion" they are doing is with Discovery Card. These are the same people who sent me statements in PDF format that they claim are encrypted and therefore totally private, but which contained my credit card numbers, not to mention the fact that the attachment name used to be "4901 3800 8391 4000.PDF", which looks remarkably like a credit card number.
As you can tell my confidence levels with either company are not exactly huge. What makes it worse is that I informed Discovery Card in June that I did not wish to receive any marketing calls or SMS messages from them. I know they got the message because someone from Discovery Card phoned me to find out if the ban extended to the SMS messages of my financial transactions.
It turns out that they decided to include my name and cell phone number in a database they provided to the AutoPage cell centre, thereby breaking the ECT Act. I have contacted them for an explanation, not that I expect to get a satisfactory one, but still.
Update 01-Dec-2006: A consultant from Discovery Card called to apologise. He explained that when they extracted the data to send to Autopage, they neglected to exclude the clients who didn't want to get marketing information or calls. Presumably they didn't care that this would violate the ECT Act. Of course it wasn't the marketing person responsible for this decision who called, but one of the call centre consultants. I guess he was too important to call himself, which is why I asked for a written apology.
Update (6 years later) 16 Aug 2012: I received the following email:
I am the Chief Operating Officer of Vitality and Discovery Card. The incident that happened below happened before my time but I did ask our team to try and ascertain what happened and what failed.
It was difficult to get to the bottom of this and we have been unable to reconstruct what the failure was and why it occurred.
I do like to think that the procedures and processes that we have in place today are rigorous and sound but there will be times when the human element fails. In these instances it’s important to recover well.
Our team takes customer service very seriously and it is paramount to our business. I know it is late but if it is any consolation, I am sorry for the below incident and I can assure you that were this to happen today, I would like to think that we would be able to resolve the issue and have retained you as a client.
Barry Sundelson.
Thanks, Barry. Much appreciated.

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