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Santander employee unlawfully infringes customer’s (and child’s) privacy

Santander employee unlawfully infringes customer’s (and child’s) privacy

The discovery

In a recent case, Irvings Law successfully represented a woman and her daughter whose data and information had been unlawfully infringed by an employee of Santander and disclosed to a mutual friend.

On the 5th July 2019, Mrs A was informed of a potential breach of her private financial information by one of Santander’s employees (a person whom she knows through mutual friends) disclosing the same to another friend of hers. Mrs A confirms that the following information was obtained and disclosed to her friend by the Santander employee:

  • Financial information inclusive of how much Mrs A was paid every month;
  • The type of benefits Mrs A is in receipt of and exactly how much she receives per month;
  • Mrs A’s transaction history inclusive of where she had been shopping and visiting;
  • The credit checks that had been completed upon the Mrs A;
  • Mrs A’s car finance payment information;
  • Mrs A’s current debt; and
  • Mrs A’s rental payments.

When disclosing the above, the Santander employee also disclosed that they believed that Mrs A may be complicit in benefit fraud which had no substance at all. Further, the said Santander employee also referred to Mrs A as a ‘benefit scrounger’, a ‘tramp’ and ‘poor’. The friend that told Mrs A what she had been told by the Santander employee has then circulated this around Mrs A’s circle of friends whereby her character and reputation has been tarnished following the assumptions made by the Santander said employee about Mrs A’s financial capability. As a result, Mrs A was made a mockery of within her friend circle which led her to being insulted, humiliated, isolated and embarrassed as they all now know (following the actions of Santander said employee) Mrs A’s financial history and current situation. Mrs A no longer keeps in contact with her friends due to what the Santander employee had unlawfully disclosed about her.

Representation

Upon receiving the knowledge of what happened, Mrs A called Santander to confirm whether it was true. Following this, a complaint investigation began but due to the passage of time and lack of confirmation of what happened being provided to Mrs A by Santander, Mrs A then instructed Irvings Law who are data breach/GDPR specialists to assist her. The Head of the Department and Solicitor (Mr Matthew McConville) agreed that Mrs A’s privacy had been unlawfully infringed and so offered ‘no win, no fee’ terms to Mrs A given his confidence and expertise in winning compensation in such a case. Mr McConville then informed Santander that Mrs A was now legally represented and that a response to her was requested as a matter of urgency. After several chasing correspondences, Santander’s in-house legal representative telephoned Mr McConville where it was confirmed that the referred to employee no longer works for Santander following this incident and that he would like to see a full Letter of Claim from Mrs A.

Mrs A specifically alleged to Santander that they had breached/invaded her privacy and had breached the Data Protection Act, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), confidence and Article 8 of the Human Rights Act 1998 as well as her private information being misused.

Resolution

Upon receipt of this Letter of Claim, Santander then decided to instruct their own Solicitors and they then requested a lengthy 28-day extension of time to provide their response on liability on behalf of Santander. Mr McConville only allowed an extra 7 days. A response to Mrs A’s Letter of Claim was then provided by Santander and to her dismay and shock they denied liability but made an offer of £5,000.00 to settle her claim. Mrs A then put forward a counter-offer of £7,500.00 and after further discussions between Mr McConville and Santander’s Solicitors, Santander accepted Mrs A’s counter offer.

The Child’s Claim

Given the successful resolution of the above matter, it came to fruition during the same that Mrs A’s daughter also had a claim under the same provisions as Mrs A as the said employee also disclosed the amount currently saved in Mrs A’s daughter’s savings account and the frequency and amount of payments made into this said account too. Upon receipt of a further Letter of Claim, Santander’s Solicitors also decided to settle Mrs A’s daughter’s claim in the sum of £1,500.00 which is a figure which has been subsequently approved by the Court where the funds will be held until Mrs A’s daughter turns 18 in 2033.

Posted in GDPR Case Reports

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