Wednesday, 29 June 2011

The Golden Rule... treat others as you yourself wish to be treated

I was listening to Radio 2 yesterday (yes yes I'm in THAT demographic) and the Jeremy Vine show was about insurance companies selling on your details to third parties if you'd been involved in an insurance claim. Understandably everyone calling in was outraged and quite rightly so.

It seems that insurance companies are ignoring The Golden Rule. Now that it seems this age old adage of "One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself" has been lost when it comes to personal data sharing among companies. I know that I am not alone in hating spam (and not just the tinned meat... remember Spam? What was it? I digress...). This is an awful thing for insurance companies to do; all done under the umbrella of 'sharing information to help aid the resolution of your claim'. So why do you receive texts 3 years later saying 'You could claim £3600 for your accident. Call this number now!"; because your details have been sold on to a company who's domicile is outside of the UK and therefore not abiding by our laws about cold calling (illegal) or data protection.

This lack of international protection (very much required in the world of the internet) means that often the lesser known Silver Rule is forgotten as well: One should not treat others in ways that one would not like to be treated. I know companies that keep people's credit / debit card numbers in spreadsheets on unprotected machines OR (even worse) on a piece of paper in a drawer. It is then passed about at bill paying time to all and sundry so that the bill can be paid. 

These horrific practices (seen in two different global companies I worked for - buy me a cup of coffee and I'll spill the beans) are why we use PayPal. Purchasing goods from u-ni-k couldn't be safer, we never see or hear your card or bank details and we will never share our customer information. 

Every time I receive one of those cold calls I ask you to do what I do:

1. Ask them to remove me from their database (so my details can't be passed on to the next company in a "customer list" for sale)
2. Ask them for their full company name, address and the name of the person who called you.
3. Report them to TPS.

Now here are two companies you really must support - Telephone Preference Service and Mail Preference Scheme. Both these are free and should cut down your 'spam' by 1/3rd

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