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Telecom company responsible for erroneous debt collection calls

PIPEDA findings #2015-021

December 18, 2015

Description

A telecommunications company continued reporting a debt to a credit-reporting agency after the individual was discharged from bankruptcy, harming the individual’s attempt at rebuilding her credit score and resulting in unwanted calls from a debt collection agency. Upon investigation, the telecommunications company corrected its records and notified the credit-reporting agency. It also committed to ensuring that the debt collection calls would cease.

Takeaways

  • Personal information must be sufficiently accurate, complete and up-to-date to minimize the possibility that inappropriate information could be used to make a decision about an individual.
  • Personal information that is disclosed to third parties, such as credit-reporting agencies, should generally be accurate and up-to-date.

Case Summary

A complaint was lodged against a telecommunications company for continuing to report a debt to a credit-reporting agency. The complainant claimed that the debt had been written off when she was discharged from bankruptcy several years before. The telecommunications company’s continued reporting of this debt was impeding the complainant’s ability to rebuild her credit score. Further, the complainant claimed that she was still being contacted by a collection agency regarding the allegedly outstanding debt.

After receiving the complaint, our Office began the early resolution process. Our Office contacted the telecommunications company that then investigated. The company determined that the incorrect information was a result of an internal manual process at the time of the bankruptcy that caused information to be overlooked. The telecommunications company updated the file and notified the credit-reporting agency. It also ensured that the collection activities targeting the complainant would stop.

Update

The complainant was satisfied with the actions taken by the respondent and grateful for the assistance from our Office.

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