WORKING ABROAD / MAR. 30, 2015
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Radio Shack to Sell Customer Information Due to Bankruptcy

Texas-based Radio Shack is going through some difficult financial times. So much, so that the company has filed for bankruptcy. While that may not be the biggest story around, what is of concern to many people is that they plan to sell their customers personal information as part of the bankruptcy proceedings. Radio Shack states in their privacy policy, “We will not sell or rent your personally identifiable information to anyone at any time.”

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This puts the company that once was beloved throughout the states, in real danger of becoming vilified by people around the world. There is a bigger story here though. If one company going through bankruptcy is willing to auction off your information, what about the others that will inevitably close down. This is the primary concern in this news.

Is It Legal

The Texas attorney general has already filed an objection to the auction and now New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has issued a statement in regards to the issue. Schneiderman stated, "When a company collects private customer data on the condition that it will not be resold, it is the company’s responsibility to uphold their end of the bargain."

The legal battle will continue, but that doesn’t help customers that are concerned about where their personal information is going. Unfortunately, Radio Shack is not doing anything that other companies have not been doing for years. This is just more public.

What Can Consumers Do?

The easiest way to protect your information is to not give it out. That is easier said than done as every business asks for your information and offers rewards now. Can you trust your small business to keep the information you provide secret, as they promised they would, or do you keep all your information close to your chest? It isn’t an easy answer in some cases, as many of the programs on offer give real savings. At the end of the day, consumers have to make their own choices.

In regards to Radio Shacks auction, 117 million customers will be at risk with information about their purchases, names, addresses and phone numbers up for auction. Of course, this will be a big deal for telemarketers. The amount of leads that will be on offer cannot be understated. While each country has its own laws about how your information can be used, and when you can be called, quick start-ups are not always worried about following those particular rules.

Take Care

With other specialty retailers like Wet Seal and smaller businesses facing the same bankruptcy concerns in their near future, you have to wonder if your information will ever be private again. For the time being, the only thing you can do is keep it close and not share it unless it is absolutely necessary.

Consumer expert Paul Viollis said it best, “When you go shopping the proprietor is not entitled to any personal information outside of the information you need to effect that transaction. So if they are going to ask you anything additional, the answer is absolutely not.”

See Also: Universities Renegade on Consumer Rights

Are you worried about how this sale will affect your personal information? Do you think this kind of action is ethical? Your thoughts and comments below please...

 

 

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