Monday, August 13, 2007

BC auto body shops object to auto insurer's credit-card policy

Auto body repair shops in British Columbia are complaining to the province's privacy commissioner about the public auto insurer requiring that the shops hand over customer credit card information in the course of routine audits.

I wonder whether there's anything in the customer's policy allowing ICBC to collect this information?

Check it out:

Auto body shops take aim at ICBC's credit-card policy

Neal Hall, Vancouver Sun

Published: Monday, August 13, 2007

An association representing auto body shops and automotive glass repair companies has filed a complaint with B.C.'s information and privacy commissioner about having to hand over customer credit card numbers to the Insurance Corp. of B.C.

The United Auto Trades Association of B.C. says disclosure of a customer's personal and financial information during ICBC audits should not be done without a customer's written consent.

The complaint, obtained by The Vancouver Sun, says the disclosure without written consent is "clearly unlawful."

"It's of concern to us," said Gerry Preddy, vice-president of the association. "We've had examples of files being lost [by ICBC]."

The association, in its complaint, cites the federal Personal Information Protection Act, which states: "An organization must not, as a condition of supplying a product or service, require an individual's consent to the collection, use or disclosure of personal information beyond what is necessary to provide the product or service."

ICBC demands such information during audits of auto body and glass repair shops that participate in ICBC's Glass Express Program to make sure shops are charging the vehicle insurance deductible amount.

"When a customer makes a claim, they are required to pay a deductible," explained ICBC spokeswoman Kate Best, "so repair shops provide ICBC with credit card information to confirm the payment of the deductible."

ICBC's position is that audits of repair shops are reasonable to verify payments, she said.

"The matter is currently before the information and privacy commissioner and ICBC will await the ruling," Best said.

The association says while membership in the glass express program is voluntary -- about 700 businesses and 60 per cent of glass repair shops participate in the program -- shops would suffer a drastic loss in business if they withdrew or refused to hand over the financial information of customers during ICBC audits.

The association made a final submission to the privacy commissioner on July 30, pointing out a recent B.C. Court of Appeal decision "confirmed that the collection and disclosure must be authorized by law."

The appeal court, in its ruling involving Royal City Jewellers & Loans Ltd., struck down a New Westminster bylaw allowing police to collect financial and personal information about people selling or pawning items to second-hand stores and pawn shops. The shops still collect the information but take the position they won't hand it over to police without a court order or search warrant.

Royal City Jewellers launched the court challenge, stating it was an invasion of privacy for law-abiding customers.

3 comments:

John said...

If you have nothing to hide, what is the problem? You use your credit card to by your insurance so ICBC has your information anyways. As for pawnshops, without the Police seeing who pawned the items. It makes it easier for the people, who most of the items in a pawnshop were stolen from, to recover them. Police do a great job of protecting us from being robbed, raped, assaulted and worse killed by someone that not only has no respect for the law nor do they respect other people's lives, right or property.
I for one would like to thank all The Police officers for risking their lives on a daily basis for keeping my family and friends safe from people who would harm us. If not for the Police we would have terror in our streets. So if they make the odd mistake and stop you remember your life and your way of life in this country depend on a few brave and dedicated few who care. Respect the law and abide by it and you will be much happier

Damaged Caravans said...

I think the complaint filed by these automotive repair companies will not prosper. It is the right of the public auto insurers to require them to hand over customer credit card information in the course of routine audits.

Uni-Body Collision said...

This is really a good step and this will certify that which service provider are best. Their services fulfill necessary requirement or not? If association does strict on fraud and worse workshop owners then definitely we will find good service provider.