Dick Smith receivers on watch for selling customer database

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Dick Smith receivers on watch for selling customer database

Receivers Ferrier Hodgson have begun advertising the immediate sale of the intellectual property of Dick Smith, including the retailer’s customer database.

Ferrier Hodgson’s campaign stated it is looking for expressions of interest in the sale of branding and trademarks, websites and domain names, as well as the retailer's customer database.

A spokesperson for Ferrier Hodgson told CRN that the recievers would contact all individuals on the database ahead of a sale, and will be given the opportunity to elect whether or not their information is included. 

"While a potential sale may include customer information (amongst other things), the form and substance of any such sale that may take place is yet to be determined," they said.

"The receivers are aware of their obligations under the privacy legislation in Australia and New Zealand regarding the use and disclosure of personal information.

"Any sale which may take place in the future would not be in breach of those obligations". 

According to Dick Smith’s privacy policy, the information Dick Smith collects under the Privacy Act 1988 can includes names, addresses, contact details, age, gender and signature of its customers. It also stores details about proof of ID such as driver’s licence, passport numbers, and customer’s social media identities.

Acting Australian Information Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim released a statement on the issue: "Businesses engaged in the selling and purchasing of customer databases need to be mindful of their obligations under the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth). I would strongly encourage any business considering this step to ensure that they seek legal advice before engaging in these types of transactions."

New Zealand privacy commissioner John Edwards also released on a statement: “Due to a stream of enquiries from the public to our office, we have been in touch with the legal advisers of the receivers of Dick Smith Electronics.

“We have received assurances that the receivers are aware of and will comply with their obligations under the New Zealand and Australian Privacy Acts.”

Ferrier Hodgson was appointed as the receiver of Dick Smith by secured creditors when the company went into administration on 5 January.

The company was wound up on 25 February when the receivers failed to find a suitable buyer.

Ferrier Hodgson's ad placed in the Australian Financial Review on 2 March.

This story has been updated to include the statement from Ferrier Hodgson's spokesperson.

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