Bank’s follow-up actions were a fair and reasonable response to complaint about business plan’s disclosure

Discontinued Case Summary #2014-001

January 29, 2014


Lessons Learned

  • Where an organization provides a fair and reasonable response to a complaint, an investigation can be discontinued pursuant to paragraph 12.2(1)(c) of PIPEDA.

Complaint

In a complaint to our Office, a husband and wife alleged that a bank disclosed a business plan containing their personal financial information without their consent. Specifically, the complainants alleged that after providing the business plan to a bank manager, it was subsequently given to a former bank employee, who then showed it to the husband’s business partners. According to the complainants, this disclosure of their personal information had a major impact on the subsequent negotiations between the business partners.

Discontinuance of Investigation

Upon being advised of the complainants’ allegations as outlined above, the bank undertook a review and investigation and confirmed in two written letters to the complainants that no disclosure had occurred by the bank.

The investigation conducted by the bank concluded that the former bank employee, who did not work for the bank at the relevant time, had no access to the business plan through his employment with the bank and no other bank employee disclosed any of the complainants’ personal information. The two letters also indicated that if the former bank employee had access to a copy of the business plan, it was not through the bank. The bank provided responses to the complainants, which were reviewed and confirmed by our Office, explaining what actions the bank had taken to investigate their allegations and locate the business plan, why the business plan had not initially been located by the current employees at the bank branch, why the business plan was sent to the bank’s Vice President before being returned to them and why current employees at the bank branch were reluctant to discuss this matter with the complainants. Our Office’s interviews with one of the husband’s former business partners and the former bank employee also validated and confirmed the bank’s responses provided to the complainants in the two written letters.

Accordingly, the actions taken by the bank, represented a fair and reasonable response to the complaint within the meaning of paragraph 12.2(1)(c) of the Act. Our Office therefore exercised its discretion and discontinued the investigation of this complaint pursuant to paragraph 12.2(1)(c) of the Act.

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