In 'S' and Veda Advantage Information Services and Solutions Limited  AICmr 33 the Commissioner has determined that Veda Advantage Information Services and Solutions Limited (Veda) - the credit referencing giant that boasts over 15 million records with credit data on 16.5 million credit active individuals and 4.4 million businesses -
interfered with the complainant's privacy by failing to take reasonable steps to ensure that the personal information contained in the complainant's credit information file was accurate, up to date, complete and not misleading, in breach of s 18G(a) of the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth). Veda also provided the complainant's credit report, which contained misleading information, to other entities in breach of s 18R(1) of the Privacy Act.Veda has been ordered to
The Commissioner also recommends that Veda -
- apologise in writing to the complainant within four weeks
- amend the complainant's credit information files in compliance with s 18G(a) of the Privacy Act by removing duplicated enquiry listings on cross-referenced files that are similar (but not identical to the initial listing) where both resulted from the same credit application
- cease to provide the complainant's credit report to any entity, prior to the removal of the similar enquiry listings
- pay the complainant $2,000 for non-economic loss caused by the interferences with the complainant's privacy.
- develop revised training packages and user information guides for subscribers, which clearly address the issue of similar enquiry listings and how to interpret them
- engage an independent auditor to assess Veda's cross-referencing processes, both the multiple identity report (MIR) option and the non-MIR alternative, in compliance with s 18G(a) of the Privacy Act.
- develop revised training packages and user information guides for subscribers, which clearly address the issue of similar enquiry listings and how to interpret them.
The complainant considered that the credit enquiries were "unnecessarily repeated and incorrect" and that provision to Veda's subscribers of misleading information concerning her credit worthiness resulted in her being refused credit or losing the opportunity to obtain credit on more favourable terms. She claimed that Veda did not respond appropriately once it became aware that data may have been inaccurate and/or misleading. She sought a declaration by the Commissioner that she is entitled to compensation of $100,000-$150,000 for economic and non-economic losses. She also requested that her personal information be listed correctly and not in a misleading manner.
Compensation under the determination is consistent with that in ‘D' and Wentworthville Leagues Club  AICmr 9, where the club was ordered to pay the complainant $7,500 for non-economic loss caused by the interference with the complainant's privacy (ie providing information to an ex-partner). That determination was released in December 2011; the complaint was made in November 2008.