CHOICE is urging Australians to avoid signing up to loyalty programs ahead of the Christmas and Boxing Day sales.
"We can't blame Australians for getting excited to use their rewards cards for big purchases before Christmas and the Boxing Day sales. We're asking them to consider the hidden cost of these services, and avoid signing up to more over the holiday season," says CHOICE consumer data advocate Kate Bower.
Read CHOICE's full article on loyalty cards and data collection here. We'd appreciate a link back if possible.
"Loyalty programs aren't free. The true cost of these programs is your personal data which can be used for manipulative practices and even personalised pricing. People might not realise that supermarket rewards programs share data and insights with their insurance businesses, while others could be sharing your personal information with data brokers. This is well beyond consumer expectations."
"Our survey found that 90% of Australians have signed up to at least one loyalty program. We strongly believe people shouldn't need to read long and poorly written fine print in order to protect their personal information," says Bower.
40% of people weren't aware loyalty schemes could sell their data to data brokers, and roughly the same number (41%) didn't realise it could be used to make decisions about them, including their credit worthiness.
CHOICE also found that 70% of people are concerned about their data being sold to data brokers and 62% are concerned about schemes using this data to make decisions about them.
CHOICE is calling on the government to make urgent reforms to make sure that businesses use consumer data in clear and fair ways.
"The existing privacy laws are no longer adequate to cover the extent of personal data collection and processing. The government needs to review whether the privacy act is sufficient to protect consumers and ensure they have adequate control of their data," says Bower.
"Businesses must take greater responsibility for data protection and the government must continue to pressure businesses to do the right thing. There needs to be less burden on individuals to understand exactly what personal data they are giving away by signing up to loyalty programs."
You can read CHOICE's full article on loyalty cards and data collection here. We'd appreciate a link back if possible.
Pre-recorded interview available for use here: https://sites.google.com/choice.com.au/loyaltyprograms
Media contact: 0430 172 669, email@example.com
CHOICE surveyed 1045 Australians between 15 and 29 September, 2021.
The data has been weighted to make sure it is representative of the Australian population according to the 2016 ABS Census data on age, state, sex, household income and education.