Requester alleges non-receipt of credit report from agency

PIPEDA Case Summary #2001-18

[Section 8]

Complaint

An individual complained that a credit-reporting agency refused his request to disclose his credit report to him.

Summary of Investigation

The complainant had written to the credit reporting agency to request access to any credit report the agency held on him. In his complaint, he alleged that he did not subsequently receive a response from the agency. The agency's consumer relations centre has a staff of six who are responsible for receiving and processing access requests according to standard procedures. By those procedures, a client request is not filed unless it has been matched to a credit report that has either been mailed or handed to the client. The centre does have on file a copy of the complainant's access request, with a handwritten notation to the effect that a response was mailed to the complainant's correct address 13 days after receipt of the request. The mailing of a response was also confirmed by reference to a computerized log and a computer-generated audit report. The complainant at one point allowed the possibility of having merely overlooked the credit report on receiving it. Later he declared it highly unlikely that he had received the report without noticing it.

Commissioner's Findings

Issued October 26, 2001

Jurisdiction: As of January 1, 2001, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act applies to disclosures of personal information across borders for consideration. The Commissioner had jurisdiction in this case because the credit reporting agency in question had disclosed personal information across borders for consideration.

Application: Section 8(3) of the Act states that an organization shall respond to a request with due diligence and in any case not later than 30 days after receipt of the request. Section 8(5) states that if the organization fails to respond within the time limit, the organization is deemed to have refused the request.

The Commissioner found no reason to doubt the evidence that the credit-reporting agency had received the complainant's access request and mailed a response within the time limit prescribed. He found that the agency had complied with section 8(3) of the Act.

The Commissioner concluded that the complaint under section 8(5) was not well-founded.

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