Have your information rights been infringed? Do you have a privacy complaint or data protection complaint? Do you want to complain that someone:
- Has someone infringed your privacy by sharing your personal information or not taking the necessary steps to protect it?
- Have you received unwanted electronic marketing (or spam), for example via telephone, email or SMS?
- Is someone refusing to give you access to information that you need?
- Is a website using cookies without your consent?
A breach of privacy is a breach of trust and we all know how it feels. We can point you in the right direction to enable you to resolve your complaint.
Resolve the issue directly with the relevant organisation
First, try to sort out the issue with the organisation concerned. This is always the best route. Talking to people is usually the best way to resolve any dispute. Taking legal action seldom solves the problem.
Lodge a complaint
- Visit the website of the information regulator or supervisory authority in your jurisdiction and lodge an online complaint. They will investigate your complaint and possibly take action (which might include a fine). For example, lodge a complaint with the SA Information Regulator or the UK ICO.
- Lodge a complaint with the public protector in your country, like the Office of the Public Protector.
- If there is a regulator for the industry that the organisation operates in, lodge a complaint with them.
- For a credit provider, lodge a complaint with the credit regulator (like the NCR) or the Office of the Credit Ombud.
- For things related to the motor industry, lodge a complaint with the Motor Industry Ombudsman.
- For pension funds, lodge a complaint with the Pension Funds Adjudicator.
- For long-term insurance, lodge a complaint with the Ombudsman for Long Term Insurance.
- For short-term insurance, lodge a complaint with the Ombudsman for Short Term Insurance.
- For financial service providers, lodge a complaint with the Office of the Ombud for Financial Service Providers.
- For banks, lodge a complaint with the Ombudsman for Banking Services.
- If the organisation is a member of an association or industry body, lodge a complaint with them. For example, the Direct Marketing Association.
- Report the organisation to a consumer complaints portal (like Hellopeter).
Report it to the police
If it is a criminal offence (which is not often the case), report the matter and open a case with the police. You need to go to your local police station and start there.
- Give them as much evidence as possible.
- Give an affidavit.
- Make sure you get a report or case number.
Seek advice from Michalsons
You can also complain to us and we’ll try to help you. Please tell us what outcome or solution you are looking for. For example, do you want:
- To stop someone processing your personal information?
- Claim damages from the responsible party?
- Get access to information held by a body?
Please bear in mind that it is currently hard to take legal action in terms of the data protection laws of some countries because the laws have not yet become effective. Two examples are the Protection of Personal Information Act (which has not yet commenced) and the General Data Protection Regulation (which comes into effect on 25 May 2018).