How data protection helps you

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IT’S so easy to buy products and services on the phone – but what if there’s a dispute after you hang up?

If the conversation is being recorded – ‘for training and quality purposes’ – it can be to your benefit.

The Data Protection Act gives you the right to demand a copy of all the information a company holds on you, and that includes a transcript of any phone call.

And if it isn’t forthcoming the firm may be breaking the law.

First you need to send a request to the organisation and make a ‘subject access request’, asking for a copy of the information it holds about you.

You may be charged a fee – normally up to £10. Firms then have to reply within 40 days from the day they receive the fee and the request.

Send a reminder by recorded delivery if it doesn’t come and if it still doesn’t arrive after that, call in the Information Commissioner.

The ICO received 26,227 complaints under the Data Protection Act last year. Of those, where the nature of the complaint was specified, 28 per cent related to subject access requests.

Go to www.ico.gov.uk or contact the helpline on 0303 1231113 for further information and advice.