Wednesday, September 05, 2007

BarclayCard Breaks the Law

Banks love to give the impression they are ethical and beyond reproach. After all, we trust them with our money. But they are just as slimy as any other business when it comes to marketing.
In July I received a marketing letter promoting BarclayCard in the mail. I send an email to them asking how they obtained my details. Reference number EC: C07E5E2C. They responded and said it was ETL Solutions, a company I have contacted before. ETL denies this, saying they have not provided them with any details at all, and they had probably obtained the details from a rival company, Effective Intelligence. I have contacted them on 021-674-0372 twice, and have yet to receive a response. I was promised the first time that Marché Kilgour would return my call. I have since found out that their fax number is 021 671 5554 or 086-610-7583 and their other phone number is 021 670 7720.
To make matters worse, ETL has provided BarclayCard/ABSA with its "do not contact" list on a regular basis, which includes my details (added on 12-Sep-2006) and my wife's details (added 29-Nov-2004). These details are also supplied weekly to the Direct Marketing Association, which maintains a Do Not Contact List.
I requested a letter of apology from BarclayCard: it's in the mail, and has been for 2 months. I also asked them again for the source of my contact details. This second request has been ignored. So the picture that is emerging is not good:
  • They obtained my contact details without my permission
  • They failed to check it against the Do Not Contact list, thereby exposing themselves to prosecution in terms of the ECT Act
  • They lied about the source of the details, don't know where it came from, again exposing themselves to ECT Act prosecution.
  • They promised to send me a letter of apology, which has not arrived
  • They ignored further correspondence.
This kind of gross incompetence makes me wonder what kind of service I would get from them if I actually had one of their credit cards. I think not.
Update: Effective Intelligence finally got back to me, and claimed that they already had me on their Do Not Contact list, and in any case they didn't supply the information to BarclayCard. They pointed a finger at "P-Cubed". See BarclayCard Bungles Again

1 comment:

Donn Edwards said...

I received the following reply:

Subject: RE: Insights and Rants : BarclayCard Breaks the Law [EC: BAAAEAB2]

Dear Mr Edwards

It is with regret that we take note of your displeasure experienced when enquiring about an offer forwarded to you by Barclaycard.

If the offer received was unwanted, we do sincerely apologise for this as it was not our intention. Be assured that it is not in our interest to do this intentionally since the success of our business depends on building lasting relationships with customers. Instances like this clearly hamper these endouvours.

The information provided regarding ETL was not correct. Your information was sourced from Effective Intelligence. This organization has sourced consumer data from many sources over many years; some examples of sources:
• Historical Voters Rolls
• Deeds Office property ownership databases
• Company ownership databases from the registrar of companies
• Home Affairs

We wish to assure you that we do attempt to ensure the integrity of the information we utilise, by checking it against various no call databasises. To avoid this, the Consumer Protection Bill has been created, so that there will be one opt-out database, instead of many. Once the act is promulgated, consumers will not experience these problems.

You may also avoid future direct marketing calls by registering with the Opt Out service, designed to protect your privacy. OptOut can be called at 0861 OptOut (0861 678 688) or by visiting Companies that may want to contact you in the future will be told that you do not want to hear from them.

We trust that the above information is of value to you and thank you for providing us with an opportunity to address your concerns.

Kind regards

Trevor Bennett
Customer Services

Unfortunately the source of the data was not Effective Intelligence either. Watch this space.