As already discussed here, here and here, many people have concerns about Lush’s attitude to their legal obligations relating to data protection. Recently I had an email from a Lush customer (as always, all emails relating to this blog should go to southside socialist at hotmail dot co dot uk). The customer had signed up to receive emails from Lush retail, but suddenly started receiving emails from a Lush/Vivienne Westwood “climate revolution” campaign. (Perhaps they could start their climate revolution by closing the damn doors).
The first email was from “Climate Revolution” and it said
…A Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. We would like to thank you for signing up to Climate Revolution and supporting us in 2013 and we hope you continue to support us to fight for a healthy planet; financially, environmentally and socially.
Vivienne Westwood & Climate Revolution.
and at the bottom it says
You are receiving this email because you opted to sign up to Vivienne Westwood’s Climate Revolution.
The customer is adamant she did not opt to sign up to the Climate Revolution campaign. She contacted Lush, saying
I have received the below email to an address that I set up specifically for use on your website. I did not opt in to email from the Climate Revolution at any time.
We may share your information on a confidential basis with our third party providers and group companies. However, don’t worry, your data is not publicly available and we will never pass it on to anyone who will plague you with non-Lush marketing stuff. We treat your data as strictly confidential!
Can you please explain why and how Vivienne Westwood Ltd have been given my email address?
Lush responded with
Thank you for getting in touch, please do excuse the delay in our reply. I’m so sorry to learn of your concerns regarding a recent Climate Revolution Newsletter. Please do accept our apologies.
During our joint venture between Climate Revolution and Vivnene Westwood we created www.climaterevolution.org to provide our customers with further information about the current campaign. We sent out a newsletter to our customers informing them about Climate Revolution and the new website.
I would like to reassure you that our customers privacy is of the up most importance to us and we would never share your personal information to any third parties. If you no longer wish to receive any further information from the Climate Revolution Campaign you can click on the unsubcribe button at the end of the Newsletter, which will remove you from the mailing list.
I do hope this has been of help and please do accept our sincere apologies for inconvenience this has caused you. If you were to have any further questions or concerns please do let us know.
Lush Retail Ltd
Tel: 01202 641006
But this customer did not opt in to receive Climate Revolution information – Lush opted her into that without asking, even though they say they do not pass details onto agencies who would use them to send out marketing emails. Note that the person responding thinks “utmost” is “up most.” Oh, and at the bottom of the email from customer care, it says
To resolve this, we need to tell the customer:
· What Climate Revolution is and apologise for any confusion caused.
· Assure the customer that we have not shared any data with anyone.
· Provide them with simple instructions on how to unsubscribe (click the link in the email provided).
which looks to me as if the customer care people have forwarded the customer’s email on for advice about how to deal with it, and haven’t fully deleted the advice they got before replying. Note that in while discussing how to resolve it, they don’t say “we should stop sending out emails to people who didn’t opt in to them.”
Lush took the email addresses from people who used the retail website, passed them to the Climate Revolution campaign, and then suggested that it was the customers’ responsibility to unsubscribe if they don’t want to receive emails they never opted into. I trust the Information Commissioner will be following this up.