The Canadian Privacy Law Blog: Developments in privacy law and writings of a Canadian privacy lawyer, containing information related to the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (aka PIPEDA) and other Canadian and international laws.

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The author of this blog, David T.S. Fraser, is a Canadian privacy lawyer who practices with the firm of McInnes Cooper. He is the author of the Physicians' Privacy Manual. He has a national and international practice advising corporations and individuals on matters related to Canadian privacy laws.

For full contact information and a brief bio, please see David's profile.

Please note that I am only able to provide legal advice to clients. I am not able to provide free legal advice. Any unsolicited information sent to David Fraser cannot be considered to be solicitor-client privileged.

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The views expressed herein are solely the author's and should not be attributed to his employer or clients. Any postings on legal issues are provided as a public service, and do not constitute solicitation or provision of legal advice. The author makes no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained herein or linked to. Nothing herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of competent counsel.

This web site is presented for informational purposes only. These materials do not constitute legal advice and do not create a solicitor-client relationship between you and David T.S. Fraser. If you are seeking specific advice related to Canadian privacy law or PIPEDA, contact the author, David T.S. Fraser.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Incident: Equifax Canada mis-faxes personal information 

Note to self: Make sure you are sending your faxes to the right place. Addendum: Make sure that if you do screw up, you don't accidentally send faxes to someone who is already mad at you.

CANOE -- CNEWS - Canada: Credit info in wrong hands:

"It seems Equifax Canada can't get the fax or the facts right after the credit agency sent detailed personal information about three Canadians to a Lindsay man.

Scot Paterson, 42, who's been battling the agency for two years to update his credit history, received a fax this week with the addresses, social insurance numbers, driver's licences and credit card information on three people living in Scarborough, Ottawa and Montreal.

When his wife called the company to notify them of the privacy breach, she was told it was 'impossible' for such an error to occur and that they were too busy to check their faxes, he said.

Paterson got the profiles on three strangers within minutes of faxing his own personal information to Equifax in a bid to straighten out his credit history...."


6/12/2005 09:06:00 AM  :: (3 comments)  ::  Backlinks
Equifax posts an email address on their site for 'customer' relations. I have sent many emails to this address requesting information about how to secure my identity. I have NOT received one response.

Equifax also has a 'free' service where you phone their toll free number, type in the numeric portion of your home address, and some credit card numbers, and they'll ship you your credit report. I have tried this service twice, and have NOT received anything via mail.

If they do not respond to email, and do not provide a number where you can talk to a human, how can someone communicate to a live person for inquiries?

With my experience so far, I would conclude that Equifax is not interested in resolving any issues. They are intent on creating them, and purposely frustrating people so they can propose better ways to service your needs in the future for $14.95 as opposed to FREE.

Remember, this is YOUR information. YOU own in, not Equifax. They should be paying us $14.95 each time a bank, credit card company, or automotive dealership wants to sell us something.
I have also been battling Equifax for several years to repair my credit report. I have learned a few things regarding their "services":

first of all - its not your information - in Canada you cannot stop them from "selling" your information to whomever they like, you can't even get it pulled while they "investigiate" it.

Secondly, I have requested 5 "free" credit reports - and not recieved even one - and Transunion is no better... spend the $15 you will feel alot better, and you get a 1-800 number to call with someone at the other end.

Thirdly, They don't sell good news - most canadians have credit reports that are wrong - information on them that is incorrect, outdated, and just plain wrong! The problem is - they don't fix it unless one of their members tells them too. You can't even change you address with these guys.

Finally, Equifax regularly ignores / breaks the law, and no one seems to mind. The various common law provinces all have strict restrictions on what can be reported, when it comes off, how to dispute, and who gets to look at your file.

However, since no one is enforcing any of the rules, its up to them to do whatever they want. If you try to fix your report, you will quickly find that there is basically no evidence that you can provide that disagrees with creditors/collection agencies that will change your file. Judgements, letters, reciepts, promises, ontracts - if it doesn't come from the creditor, it must be a fake!

We all had pretty high hopes with the Privacy Act and PIPEDA that this shady business would get reformed, but if anything, they've gotten worse over the last 6 years.

In my case Ive gone to court, complained to the Registrar, and have now had to sue them - its pretty sad that we have a justice systems that spends a huge portion of our time and money collecting debts for these guys, but can't even enforce some basic rules.

As far as im concerned, these guys are in bed with the collection agencies, banks, etc. and their main interest is to punish any poor slob who runs afoul of them - if that means unemployment, homelessness, even death - thats fine by them! You should never look at your banker the same way again.
Scarier still, as I am writing this I see Equifax and TransUnion ads on this very page.
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