The Australian Privacy Commissioner found Veda had breached privacy rules when it sold commercial products to consumers who simply wanted a copy of their credit report, which, by law, they’re able to access for free once a year.

Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim said Veda “interfered” with the privacy of these customers by charging for “expedited” delivery of a credit report, even though the person hadn’t accessed a report in the previous 12 months, and for failing to prominently state their rights.  He also determined Veda didn’t take reasonable steps to ensure the free option was as available and easy to identify as the commercial product, and used and disclosed personal information for the purposes of direct marketing.

Gerard Brody, CEO of Consumer Action, said Veda set up its websites and phone service in a way that drove consumers towards its commercial products.

“We call on any and all consumers impacted by this decision to contact Veda as soon as possible to receive your refund,” he said.  A consumer may want to view their credit report as it contains their personal details, borrowing and repayment history, defaults, and more. A credit application may be rejected depending on the information in the file.

Veda currently charges $79.95 for a credit report in one business day. Its free option is “dispatched” in 10 days.

A Veda spokeswoman said more than 250,000 Australians were accessing a free Veda credit report each year. “Veda will be taking action in relation to two complaints: Within six months we will enable phone requests for free credit files, in the same way as may be made for premium products,” she said.  “Customers who purchased a $69.95 MyCreditFile express credit report on or after 12 March 2014 may be eligible for a refund – Veda will be alerting eligible customers.”

Source:  The Age