Carphone Warehouse and its sister company TalkTalk could face prosecution after an investigation found that both companies broke data protection laws.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) found that Carphone Warehouse and Talk Talk ‘failed to meet the basic principles of the Data Protection Act’ after it investigated complaints about the way both organisations processed and stored personal information.
In a statement released yesterday, the ICO said: ‘Carphone Warehouse and TalkTalk had been opening customer accounts in the wrong name and passing innaccurate information on to credit reference agencies and debt collection agencies.
‘Security failings also led to customers being able to view other customers’ account details online. In addition, the ICO found that the companies had not responded to requests by individuals for information held about them.’
ICO assistant commissioner Mick Gorrill said: ‘Carphone Warehouse and TalkTalk’s use of innacurate and incorrect personal data has caused real damage and distress to customers.’
A spokeswoman for Carphone Warehouse said: 'The issues were primarily caused by the significant interest in TalkTalk’s introduction of free broadband, over 18-months ago. We apologise for any inconvenience that may have been caused and we will continue to work with the ICO in meeting and exceeding their expectations in this and any other respect.'
If Carphone Warehouse does not take steps to ensure customers’ personal information is properly protected it could face prosecution.