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The Regulations Of Privacy Policy and Internet Shopping

By: Lucy Debenham BA (hons) - Updated: 20 Nov 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Privacy Online Shopping Privacy Policy

Unsolicited emails, otherwise known as 'spam', could be described as one of the most irritating 'side effects' of using the Internet. They are used as a means to commercially communicate, or advertise a promotional offer or product, without being invited to do so. Spam is a fairly common marketing tool, but sellers risk putting potential customers off by using these means.

This is because one person will often receive dozens of spam emails in a day, many of them completely inappropriate and persistent. The sheer volume of spam being received by some individuals could sometimes feel like harassment and in violation of their right to privacy. Although regulations are in place to elect to be taken off lists used for commercial marketing via unsolicited mail through the post (junk mail) and by telephone, until 2003 unsolicited electronic mails weren't really regulated as such.

There is also the danger that spam emails could have some virus attached to them, which sometimes means that the recipient doesn't want to open the email. Then there is also the issue of privacy - if someone hasn't elected to receive marketing information from a business they may feel resentful about receiving the email in the first place.

The Problem

The problem lies in the fact that unsolicited emails can begin to arrive in large volumes if an email address is published on the Internet, perhaps through completely innocent means such as a link on a website or contacts page. In this case privacy is difficult to uphold in cyberspace. 'Spammers' can scan the Internet to get hold of addresses published on the Internet and then send out mass unsolicited emails to the address that they've collected in this way.

Partly as a response to this, in 2003 the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) began to enforce a set of regulations entitled the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulation. Basically this was an update of the pre-existing Telecommunications (Data Protection an Privacy) Regulations, which sought to include issues such as privacy and unsolicited email and SMS marketing activities.

The Regulations

The heart of the Privacy and Electronic Regulations is to try and ensure that any company using unsolicited emails are clearly identifiable as such, and that it is clear from the subject line of the email or SMS that the communication is commercial and relates to a promotion and marketing or advertising of a product. The Regulations also stipulate that the sender of the commercial communication must also include the name of the intended recipient in the email - concealing or disguising this is regarded as a breach of the regulations. The identity and contact details of the sender must also be included in the communication.

The other key point that appears in the Regulations is that the sender of the email must provide the recipient with a valid email address that they can contact to cease the unsolicited marketing communications. The recipient must have given consent prior to receiving any such commercial communications, unless they have decided to opt-in already and given their consent to receive these sorts of emails. The Regulations stipulate that if an individual is an existing customer of a company and has bought a product, then the company may send them unsolicited advertising emails pertaining to products that relate to the customer's previous purchases. However, the customer must always be given an opportunity to 'opt-out' of receiving these emails. This is often found in the privacy policy published on the website.

Any company in breach of the Regulations are liable to an enforcement notice, and if this is contravened then the company may be fined or have criminal sanctions imposed upon them.

Cookies and Privacy

Cookies are often placed on websites to help the website owner track the activity of the website visitors. The cookies send snippets of information to the website owner, and this includes information about the user's browsing patterns, including their preferences, what they viewed and what they downloaded. The Regulations aim to give the user an opportunity to not download these cookies onto their PC. The theory is that the user should be able to elect to opt-out by being given on how to disable the cookies on their browser.

Data Protection Act

The Data Protection Act is also a piece of relative legislation that is associated with privacy policies and personal information. The Act governs the use of personal information by businesses an organisations, and ensures that personal details are kept in accordance with the Act.

The principles of the Act mean that all personal data is processed lawfully and for lawful purposes. In part, this means that basically the details are accurate, kept up to date and only kept as long as they are needed for the purpose that they are being used for.

Personal details kept on record are deemed by the act to only need to be adequate, relevant to the company and not excessively detailed. The details themselves are not allowed to be transferred outside of the European Economic Area. The only circumstances that would allow this were if the personal information were properly protected in the transferral. Individuals are given certain rights under the Data Protection Act. With regard to privacy, an individual's right includes the right for the individual to not have their details used to receive direct marketing, and to also acquire information held about themselves. If an individual believes that they have suffered physically or financially as a consequence of this Act being breached, then they are entitled, through court, to the right to claim compensation.

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bexinthecity - Your Question:
I bought a second hand printer on ebay from a private seller using BIN but it's faulty and will not work at all yet it was described as working.Paypal are insisting we sent it back at our own cost (which will be more than the printer is worth) so what is the point??

Our Response:
If you purchased an item from a private seller, it must be as described. If an item is not "as described",you can ask for a refund but if the seller refuses, your only option to recover this is via the legal system. You can of course, provide negative ratings on eBay as well.
OnlineShoppingRights - 21-Nov-17 @ 10:41 AM
I bought a second hand printer on ebay from a private seller using BIN but it's faulty and will not work at all yet it was described as working. Paypal are insisting we sent it back at our own cost (which will be more than the printer is worth) so what is the point??
bexinthecity - 20-Nov-17 @ 8:25 AM
tacey - Your Question:
Ordered a blind online from Wilson blinds which I thought was grey it was sold as blacks and greys when choosing your colour, however when I received it it was a khaki green shade, I have been in touch and they basically say that this is the colour I ordered which was called silver birch, the pictures on there website are nothing like this colour and are displayed under blacks and greys. they are collecting the blind this week to have a look as they say they can not see my photographs properly, been shopping with this company for over 6 years never had a problem also they have manufacturers who supply these blinds and call the colour stratus obviously they haven't updated there website pics to match new colours

Our Response:
If the blind was ready made/standard size, rather than made to order, then you can return it within 14 days anyway under Consumer Rights legislation. If the item is bespoke but is either faulty, not as described or unsatisfactory quality then you still have the right to return it for a full refund within 30 days of purchase. If it looked grey, fell into the greys/blacks categories and was called "silver birch" (we'd assume this to be more of a grey/silver shade than khaki green too) then you should still be able to return it forrefund on the the basis that is is not as described.
OnlineShoppingRights - 5-Jan-17 @ 10:48 AM
ordered a blind online from Wilson blinds which i thought was grey it was sold as blacks and greys when choosing your colour, however when i received it it was a khaki green shade, i have been in touch and they basically say that this is the colour i ordered which was called silver birch, the pictures on there website are nothing like this colour and are displayed under blacks and greys.they are collecting the blind this week to have a look as they say they can not see my photographs properly, been shopping with this company for over 6 years never had a problem also theyhave manufacturers who supply these blinds and call the colour stratus obviously they haven't updated there website pics to match new colours
tacey - 4-Jan-17 @ 10:03 AM
unlucky - Your Question:
I had bought a pair of shoes at the price of £62.00 and fast delivery £6.00 from kateskates online.This is now an going matter dating back to October 14th 2016.Within two weeks of wearing the shoes for just normal walking and not everyday, the logo on the back of the heel started peeling away.I notified the company about this problem and they asked me to send pictures and stating what was the issue of the fault.They said they would send these pictures to a manufacture in Belgium.We had not heard anything from them for a while and so I called them up and they said it is wear and tear not the manufactures fault. I said not for two weeks of normal wear and taking into the cost of the shoes they should not be falling apart. The man said it could be a number of reasons and they would give us £15 off, I said no I do not want a discount I want you to know its a fault and give us a replacement or refund. Then he said he would speak with his manager again.This time they sent us an email for £20 off. I called them and said I do not want their discount and I wanted to speak with the manager but apparently she was in a meeting.I spoke with CAB and they advice I write a letter about asking for a refund stating to them the trades and standard act. In return they quoted me back and said seek an independent person to verify it was a fault. Van's company can not help but only give us 20% off shoes bought with them in the future.I asked for a letter from the manufacture stating it was wear and tear, this was a week ago when the manager said she would get one.I called back the company this morning asking to speak with the manager but she was not available of course so the lady took my number and said she will get her to call me.So now I am left without any help and my rights have just been dismissed.What can I do now???

Our Response:
Write to them - you have an automatic right to refund of faulty goods within 30 days of purchase under the Consumer Rights Act. The retailer is repsonsible for this and should not be involving you in contacting the manufacturer etc. In your letter quote the Consumer Rights Act 2015 which states that if you purchased a product which is unfit for purpose, faulty, or not as described, you have the right to return the product and receive a full refund within 30 days of the date of purchase. Send the shoes back with the letter (get proof of posting etc). We hope you haven't been wearing them since making the first complaint or it will not be as easy to resolve. Tell them you will be referring it to a solicitor as well as posting poor reviews about the retailer if it is not resolved.
OnlineShoppingRights - 22-Nov-16 @ 2:51 PM
I had boughta pair of shoes at the price of £62.00 and fast delivery £6.00 from kateskates online. This is now an going matter dating back to October 14th 2016. Within two weeks of wearing the shoes for just normal walking and not everyday, the logo on the back of the heel started peeling away. I notified the company about this problem and they asked me to send pictures and stating what was the issue of the fault. They said they would send these pictures to a manufacture in Belgium. We had not heard anything from them for a while and so i called them up and they said it is wear and tear not the manufactures fault. I said not for two weeks of normal wear and taking into the cost of the shoes they should not be falling apart. The man said it could be a number of reasons and they would give us £15 off, i said no i do not want a discount i want you to know its a fault and give us a replacement or refund. Then he said he would speak with his manager again. This time they sent us an email for £20 off. I called them and said i do not want their discount and i wanted to speak with the manager but apparently she was in a meeting. I spoke with CAB and they advice i write a letter about asking for a refund stating to them the trades and standard act. In return they quoted me back and said seek an independent person to verify it was a fault. Van's company can not help but only give us 20% off shoes bought with them in the future. I asked for a letter from the manufacture stating it was wear and tear, this was a week ago when the manager said she would get one. I called back the company this morning asking to speak with the manager but she was not available of course so the lady took my number and said she will get her to call me.So now i am left without any help and my rights have just been dismissed. What can i do now???
unlucky - 22-Nov-16 @ 10:25 AM
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