Issued By
West Yorkshire Trading
Standards Service

DATA PROTECTION WARNING REPEATED

 

West Yorkshire Trading Standards continues to receive numerous enquiries from local businesses, who have received letters from companies demanding payment to comply with the Data Protection Act 1998 and would like to repeat its earlier warnings to businesses in the area.

Several companies such as the Data Protection Agency and the Data Protection Registration Agency have taken the opportunity to try to profit from recent changes to Data Protection legislation. They are targeting business by sending misleading letters demanding fees in the region of £100 to register businesses under the current legislation.

The letters are misleading because they give the impression that they come from the Information Commissioner and that the business receiving them is under a legal obligation to register with the company immediately.  

Some businesses processing personal data are required by law to register with the Information Commissioner. The statutory fee for this is only £35. However, some small business that process personal data for limited purposes may not need to register and the Information Commissioner does NOT send out threatening letters demanding payment. 

Trading Standards is warning companies NOT to respond to such letters and if concerned about whether registration is necessary to make enquiries directly with the Information Commissioner’s office based in Wilmslow, Cheshire by telephoning 01625 545 745.  

The Office of Fair Trading has already taken action to stop several businesses operating in this way, but as soon as this happens other businesses emerge to take their place. All these businesses appear to be based in either London or the North West of England.

Martin Wood Chief Officer of West Yorkshire Trading Standards said,

“Businesses must be vigilant. It is so easy for these to be paid by mistake, given that the letters are so cleverly worded. The fact that these businesses keep springing up again suggests it is still a lucrative market and people are still paying up. Do not be intimidated by these letters and if your business receives one, report it to the West Yorkshire Consumer Helpline on 01133 848 848.”

 

For further information contact:

John Field                                      Senior Enforcement Officer                                      0113 2898238

Graham Hebblethwaite                 Divisional Manager (General Media Contact)       0113 2898218

Paul Cooper                                   Divisional Manager                                                   0113 2898240