Canadians Getting the Dirty End of the Stick with US Online Retailers

grinch.jpgEarlier this week I spent some time shopping online. Christmas shopping. That’s right. Not even December, and already I’m ahead of schedule.

In an effort to take advantage of some of the gratuitous goodness of the Canadian dollar, I headed south of the digital border.
Clickity click, and presto, presents!
Not 30 minutes later, an email shoed up in my inbox - And yes - this is verbatim:

We have a few challenges processing international orders, so I hope you’ll be able to help me with some additional information.  Can you provide me with the name, telephone number (usually found on the back of the card), and location of the bank that issues your card? Thanks, that will be very helpful. We are not able to start processing your order until we receive this information.Also, because of the strict security guidelines issued recently by Visa and MasterCard, we need to ask you for additional identity verification information based on the large dollar amount of this purchase. If you could also fax us a copy of the credit card you are using (front and back) and a photocopy of corresponding photo ID, that would allow us to process the order much more quickly.  Our fax number is 801-XXX-XXXX. Please do not email this information—-email is not secure.
Imagine my surprise.
Shock.
Anger.
Open and blatant hostility.

Yes indeed - the site wanted copies of my bank info, both sides of my credit card as well as photo ID. And the customer service rep has the cojones to suggest that email isn’t secure, yet a fax machine God knows where is?

I did what any good geeky girl would do.
I politely asked for copies of her company’s privacy statements, process and procedures for handling, storing and destroying personal information, and confirmation that all employees are bonded.

Pffft.
Alas, I suggested that if they could not process my order with the information I provided at time of checkout, the should proceed to cancel my order.

I appreciate your request and the position your are in, however, I will NOT be sending any of my detailed, personal information to an unknown destination. Your disclosure of email not being secure, yet sending you all my private information to a FAX number is a secure and acceptable process is laughable. The information requested above would provide you or anyone associated with your organization with enough information to completely take over my identity, financial or otherwise. There is no mention of your privacy policies, document management or any procedures that would be undertaken to protect any information that might be sent to you, how it would be stored or how it would be destroyed.


They cancelled my order.
And no - it WASN’T a huge dollar amount.