Thursday, August 11, 2005

Privacy Act - What Privacy Act??

Are you enjoying your leisurely summer? The province hopes you are. While you are busy enjoying the outdoors, they have been busy passing laws, giving themselves raises and selling your personal information.... say what?? That's right... selling your personal information.

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Our local government watchdog, Rick Bell, Calgary Sun is back from a brief, but hopefully restful, vacation. I miss Rick when he is gone. His skill for digging up doggie doo doo on King Ralph and his minions is A++. His tenacity for getting to the truth and trying to protect Albertan's interests makes him a hero in my books. Hey Rick - ever thought about running for the Alberta Alliance Party??

Today, we learn that the poobahs running the province will sell your personal information to Imperial Parking for the low low price of $11.00/request. Shocked! You should be. Changes to the Privacy Act in 2004 prevents 3rd parties from obtaining information from the gov't (or anyone else for that matter) without your consent.

In my industry (property management) this Act was particulary important to know as I receive personal information about people almost on a daily basis.

So why can Impark once again gather personal information on you for $11/hit when I would be in trouble up the wahzoo if I even possessed the thought of selling your personal information? That's because one rule applies to us (lowly serfs) and one rule applies for the kingdom of Ralph.

While War/Child Amps had to fight tooth and nail to get your mailing address ONLY in order to send you some info on helping kids, all Imperial Parking has to do is pay $11 for a value added list.

What is even more troubling is that the list, which includes home and work phone numbers provides enough personal info that they can obtain your SIN number and a credit history report on you and your spouse (if applicable). Having dealt with over 200 collection files, I can tell you that this is exactly the type of information collected by the agency used to chase you for payment of your ticket.

Of course, this could all be avoided if you paid your ticket and didn't run over the time limit (which on Impark's machines are extremely easy to do).

But in my opinion, if Impark is worried about their outstanding debt, they should change their business practices first (manning booths or getting those automated machines with the leveller arms that go up and down to allow you entry in and out). I suspect, however, that their deal with the government is far less expensive to their bottom line (and I can almost guarantee you that they are charging YOU the $11.00 fee). Barring that, they should get out of the parking business altogether. Their competitors don't appear to have these issues (Sterling Parking for example).

Your recourse? Don't use Imperial Parking. That is always the consumers best weapon against this kind of heavy handed collection choice. Your other recourse? At the ballot box (while we still have it that is).

9 Comments:

At Thu Aug 11, 01:12:00 PM MDT, Blogger sheila said...

I've been boycotting Imperial Parking for years. (I don't work downtown so it's a bit easier for me to do than for most) First of all a City of Calgary parking ticket is 1/2 the cost of an Impark Ticket so if you're going to get caught it's simple math. Also the City has very few by-law patrol officers so outside of core business hours it's almost impossible to get a city issued parking ticket.

The reason I boycott Imperial is that their machines are broken and yet they still issue tickets. Not my fault and I won't pay!!!

As for Rick Bell running for the Alberta Alliance - He is way too much of a Liberal for that. Actually I think he's an NDP'er and he did run for something a few years ago.

 
At Thu Aug 11, 04:10:00 PM MDT, Blogger Aizlynne said...

I didn't realize he was an NDP'er. He seems too conservative for that... but I am glad he is at least keeping an eye on things.

Hopefully other Calgarians that read my blog Sheila will take a moment to read your response, which should give the City some extra business I hope.

 
At Thu Aug 11, 04:31:00 PM MDT, Blogger Richard said...

Oy!

 
At Thu Aug 11, 04:35:00 PM MDT, Blogger Justthinkin said...

So these parking clowns can get your personnel info for $11.00,but the RCMP/CSIS can't question a known terrorist in ANOTHER country?
Ohhhh,my aching head

 
At Thu Aug 11, 10:33:00 PM MDT, Blogger sheila said...

Aizlynne - I really enjoy your Blog - I only just figured out how to create an ID without creating a Blog - forced since I also really like PlanetX and she changed her posting policy thanks to the spammers. Damn like I need more Passwords to remember!

 
At Fri Aug 12, 08:06:00 AM MDT, Blogger Aizlynne said...

Thanks Sheila. Welcome aboard. As I tell all my blogging buddies, you are welcome to post and suggest items for the blog anytime you choose.

Debate is always welcome as is freedom of speech. The only thing I won't put up with is personal insults and abusive language - otherwise the field is wide open (just like the Prairies).

 
At Fri Aug 12, 07:18:00 PM MDT, Blogger Candace said...

I thought that Impark et al couldn't collect the parking ticket $ because they were improper? I'm sure that's AB vs BC. What that means is, if you get a ticket, BY LAW you only have to pay the amount you SHOULD have paid for parking, which means if they ticket you $50, but parking all day was $10, send them $10.

They won't come after you. My mother's done it, I've done it...

 
At Fri Aug 12, 09:36:00 PM MDT, Blogger Aizlynne said...

I'm not really sure about that Candace. I assume when you park in their lot, you automatically give your consent to their rules and regulations. If that includes a service "fee" or interest charges, couldn't they charge them? I would be curious to know if anyone has had Impark collections come after them and for how much ... just the ticket price or were their additional levies.

Seems to me that it is pointless for Impark to spend $11 to send a $10 ticket.

 
At Sun Aug 14, 05:18:00 PM MDT, Blogger sheila said...

I tried Candace's suggestion a couple of times - they let will let you get away with it once or twice but after that it's a different story. It's all in the computer and they can spot a pattern/habit!

I think my original boycott began when I had my old car - and thought "I've got so many unpaid tickets with these guys they are going to tow me next time!" My car wasn't worth the impound costs - it was barely worth the cost of a tank of gas - but it was all I had!

 

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