- Privacy of personal information is an important principle to Chintz. We are committed to collecting, using and disclosing personal information responsibly and only to the extent necessary for the goods and services we provide. We also try to be open and transparent as to how we handle personal information. This document describes our privacy policies.
What is Personal Information?
- Personal information is information about an identifiable individual. Personal information includes information that relates to their personal characteristics (e.g., gender, age, income, home address or phone number, ethnic background, family status), their health (e.g., disabilities affecting mobility) or their activities and views (e.g., religion, politics, opinions expressed by an individual, an opinion or evaluation of an individual). Personal information is to be contrasted with business information (e.g., an individualÕs business address and telephone number), which is not protected by privacy legislation.
Who We Are
- We sell decorative furnishings to the general public as well as provide custom home design services to customers. We use a number of consultants and agencies that may, in the course of their duties, have limited access to personal information we hold. These include installers, cottage sewers, trades, computer consultants, office security and maintenance, bookkeepers and accountants, credit card companies, website managers, and our lawyers. We restrict their access to any personal information we hold as much as is reasonably possible. We also have their assurance that they follow appropriate privacy principles.
We Collect Personal Information: Primary Purposes
- Like most retail companies, we collect, use and disclose personal information in order to serve our customers. For our customers, the primary purpose for collecting personal information is to provide sales and service. Where our client is an individual, we collect information about the clientÕs desires or preferences so that we can advise and give the customer the best possible sales and service.
- A second primary purpose might be to collect personal information from third parties (e.g., registering for gift giving related to weddings or other social events.
- A third primary purpose is to obtain home contact information so that we can contact a customer in private or for a potential purchase of interest.
- It would be rare for us to collect any personal information without the customerÕs express consent, but this might occur in a case of urgency (e.g., the customer is unavailable) or where we believe the customer would consent if asked and it is impractical to obtain consent (e.g., a family member who wishes to purchase a gift for another family member contacts us to provide additional information).
About Members of the General Public
- For members of the general public, our primary purpose for collecting personal information is usually to gather and review information that is relevant to an issue affecting our own customers. Thus, the personal information is usually incidental to our providing advice to our customer. Normally this would be done with the consent of the individual.
- Another primary purpose for collecting personal information about members of the general public is to provide notice of special events (e.g., a sale or introduction of a new product or service) or to make them aware of our services in general. For example, while we try to collect work contact information where possible, we might collect home addresses, fax numbers and email addresses. We try to obtain consent before collecting any such personal information, but where this is not, for any reason, possible, we will upon request remove any personal information from our distribution list.
- On our website, we only collect, with the exception of cookies (electronic markers identifying computers that have previously visited our website), the personal information you provide and only use that information for the purpose you gave it to us (e.g., to respond to your email message, to register for a special event, to subscribe to a newsletter if available). Cookies are only used to help you navigate our website and are not used to monitor you.
About Contract Staff
- For people who are contracted to do work for us, our primary purpose for collecting personal information is to ensure we can contact them in the future (e.g., for new assignments) and for necessary work-related communication (e.g., sending out paycheques, year-end tax receipts, tax filings). Examples of the type of personal information we collect for those purposes include home addresses and telephone numbers and performance information for a review or a reference letter. It is rare for us to collect such information without prior consent, but it might happen in the case of an emergency or to investigate a possible breach of law.
Contractors and Suppliers
- We collect personal information about contractors and other suppliers and their staff to assist us in assessing their performance. Often this information is collected with consent as a part of a written or verbal contract with the organizations involved. Sometimes the exceptions for collecting personal information without consent relating to publicly available information, breach of agreement and contravention of the law apply. Sometimes the information is business, not personal, information.
- We may collect personal information to maintain the security of our projects through security cameras and security personnel. We try to make it known, through signs or the public nature of the cameras and personnel that we are doing so.
We Collect Personal Information: Related and Secondary Purposes
- Like most organizations, we also collect, use and disclose information for purposes related to or secondary to our primary purposes. The most common examples of our related and secondary purposes are as follows:
- To invoice customers for goods or services that are not paid for at the time, to process credit card payments or to collect unpaid accounts.
- To advise customers and others of new developments in our business (e.g., a promotion newsletter sent to a home email of a customer).
- To advise customers and others of our newsletters, special offers and promotions that we might have available.
- We review customer and other files for the purpose of ensuring that we provide high quality services, including assessing the performance our staff. In addition, external consultants (e.g., auditors, lawyers, information technologists) may on our behalf do audits and continuing quality improvement reviews of our business, including reviewing customer files and interviewing our staff.
- Various government agencies (e.g., Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, Information and Privacy Commissioner, Human Rights Commission, etc.) have the authority to review our files and interview our staff as a part of their mandates. In these circumstances, we may consult with professionals (e.g., lawyers, accountants) who will investigate the matter and report back to us.
- Customers or other individuals we deal with may have questions about the products or services they received. We also provide ongoing services for many of our customers over a period of months or years for which previous records are helpful. We retain our customer information for a minimum of six years after the last contact to enable us to respond to questions and provide these services.
- You can choose not to be part of some of these related or secondary purposes (e.g., by declining special offers or promotions, by paying for your services in advance). We do not, however, have much choice about some of these related or secondary purposes (e.g., external regulation).
Protecting Personal Information
- We understand the importance of protecting personal information. For that reason, we have taken the following steps:
- Paper information is either under supervision or secured in a locked or restricted area.
- Electronic hardware is either under supervision or secured in a locked or restricted area at all times. In addition, passwords are used on computers.
- Paper information is transmitted through sealed, addressed envelopes or boxes by reputable companies.
- Electronic information is transmitted either through a direct line or is encrypted.
- External consultants and agencies with access to personal information must provide us with appropriate privacy assurances
Retention and Destruction of Personal Information
- We need to retain personal information for some time to ensure that we can answer any questions you might have about the services provided and for our own accountability to external regulatory bodies. However, we do not want to keep personal information too long in order to protect your privacy.
- We keep our customer files for about six years. Our customer and contact directories are much more difficult to systematically destroy, so we remove such information when we can if it does not appear that we will be contacting you again. However, if you ask, we will remove such contact information right away.
- We destroy paper files containing personal information by shredding. We destroy electronic information by deleting it and, when the hardware is discarded, we ensure that the hard drive is physically destroyed. Alternatively, we may send some or all of the customer file to our customer.
You Can Look at Your Information
- With some exceptions, you have the right to see what personal information we hold about you. Often all you have to do is ask. We can help you identify what records we might have about you. We will also try to help you understand any information you do not understand (e.g., short forms, technical language, etc.). We will need to confirm your identity, if we do not know you, before providing you with this access. We reserve the right to charge a nominal fee for such requests.
- If there is a problem, we may ask you to put your request in writing. If we cannot give you access, we will tell you within 30 days if at all possible and tell you the reason, as best we can, as to why we cannot give you access.
- If you believe there is a mistake in the information, you have the right to ask for it to be corrected. This applies to factual information only. We may ask you to provide documentation that our files are wrong. Where we agree that we made a mistake, we will make the correction and notify anyone to whom we sent this information. If we do not agree that we have made a mistake, we will still agree to include in our file a brief statement from you on the point and we will forward that statement to anyone else who received the earlier information.
Do You Have a Question?
- Our Information Officer, can be reached at:
1720 Store Street ,
Victoria, BC V8W 1V5
PHONE (250) 388-0996
- He or She will attempt to answer any questions or concerns you might have.
- If you wish to make a formal complaint about our privacy practices, you may make it in writing to our Information Officer. He or She will acknowledge receipt of your complaint; ensure that it is investigated promptly and that you are provided with a formal decision and reasons in writing.
- This policy is made under the Personal Information Protection Act of British Columbia. It is a complex Act and provides some additional exceptions to the privacy principles that are too detailed to set out here. There are some rare exceptions to the commitments set out above.
- For more general inquiries, the Information and Privacy Commissioner for B.C. oversees the administration of the privacy legislation in the private sector. The Commissioner also acts as a kind of ombudsman for privacy disputes. The Information and Privacy Commissioner can be reached at:
P.O. Box 9038, Stn. Prov. Govt.
Victoria, BC V8W 9A4
Phone: (250) 387-1696
Fax: (250) 387-5629