Supplementary identification required to obtain members? discount

Settled case summary #17

Complaint

A member of a not-for-profit association complained that he was required to show a second piece of identification, in addition to his membership card, when purchasing goods or services from the association.  He thought that his membership card should be sufficient identification and that the collection of further personal information was unwarranted.

Outcome

The Office learned that the association has legal agreements with vendors that require it to sell its discounted products and services only to current association members.  Membership in the association is non-transferable.  However, some members were loaning their membership cards to non-members so that they also could obtain member discounts.  This not only had legal repercussions for the association, but also resulted in lost revenue.  Thus, the association established a requirement for supplementary identification in order to confirm the member’s identity and thereby prevent misuse of membership privileges.  The association noted that members are given a choice of secondary identification to proffer, and that it does not record any of this information. 

The results of our inquiry were explained to the complainant, and he was satisfied with the outcome.  The complaint was therefore considered settled during the course of the investigation.

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