Dick Smith receiver puts customer databases up for sale

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Dick Smith receiver puts customer databases up for sale

Updated: Customers will be given the opportunity to opt out.

Dick Smith receiver Ferrier Hodgson is trying to sell the retailer's customer databases in an effort to recoup revenue from the failed business.

In an appeal for “urgent expressions of interest” on the Ferrier Hodgson website, the group is advertising a range of Dick Smith intellectual property assets including the stored customer details, its Dick Smith and Move online businesses, the brand and trademarks, and web properties.

Interested buyers have until tomorrow to lodge their interest in the purchase, which covers both the Australian and New Zealand arms of the Dick Smith operation.

Updated 5:50pm: However a spokesman for the receiver has advised iTnews that Ferrier Hodgson will make contact with all of the individuals in the database ahead of a sale, and they will be given the opportunity to elect whether or not their information is included.

"While a potential sale may include customer information (amongst other things), the form and substance of any such sale that may take place is yet to be determined," he said.

"The receivers are aware of their obligations under the privacy legislation in Australia and New Zealand regarding the use and disclosure of personal information. 

"Any sale which may take place in the future would not be in breach of those obligations". 

New Zealand’s privacy commissioner John Edwards ealier today said he had received assurances from Ferrier Hodgson’s legal advisers that the sale was within the parameters of both the Australian and NZ privacy acts.

Acting Australian Information Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim remained circumspect about the matter.

"Businesses engaged in the selling and purchasing of customer databases need to be mindful of their obligations under the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth).

"I would strongly encourage any business considering this step to ensure that they seek legal advice before engaging in these types of transactions," he said in a statement. 

According to Dick Smith’s Australian privacy policy, the company collected information spanning the name, address, contact details, age, gender and signature of its customers. It also stored details about proof of ID such as driver’s licence, passport numbers, and customer’s social media identities.

NZ lobby group Consumer advised its members to unsubscribe from any Dick Smith email lists if they wanted their details removed before the database sale.

“An unsubscribe link is usually found at the bottom of each email. It’s not yet clear whether the store’s databases have already been packaged for sale," it said.

Ferrier Hodgson was appointed as the receiver of Dick Smith by secured creditors when the company went into administration on 5 January.

The company was wound up on 25 February when the receivers failed to find a suitable buyer.

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