Summaries of settled cases

Settled case summary #21

ARCHIVED - Loyalty program inadvertently markets to child members

Complaint

An individual complained that a loyalty program in which his children were members had given the children’s names and addresses to its partner credit card companies.  As a result, the companies sent credit card marketing materials to the minors.  The complainant was exasperated that the problem took a long time to get resolved.

Outcome

The loyalty program advised that it does not market to any member under the age of 18, nor does it provide partner companies with such information.  The children’s loyalty program accounts had been opened by telephone, and it was not mandatory to provide the date of birth.  Because the birth dates were not recorded in the children’s account profiles, they were not identified as minors.  Thus, their names and addresses were provided by the program to its partners for marketing purposes.   

Part of the delay in rectifying the situation resulted from the fact that marketing lists were generated six to eight weeks in advance of mail-outs.  For a time, therefore, the children continued to receive marketing material even though their profiles had been updated and their names and addresses deleted from the computer system.  Notwithstanding this, the loyalty program acknowledged that it took an overly long time to correct the problem.

The loyalty program sent a letter of apology to the complainant, and the mailings to his children ceased.  The complaint was considered settled.