Ever wondered what may happen to your innocent private personal information being given in the spur of the moment to view a house you intending to buy?
Even nick names with full address details? Well that's exactly how one house hunter found out that his personal information was shared with third party agencies without either his knowledge or consent!
You would think real estate agencies need that type of information to protect sellers from buyers simply groping around finding an easy way to get into someone else's property ... legally.
But then, who would've suspected the buyer gets done too. It's a cunning way to solicit for information and pass it on to marketing companies.
The privacy commissioner? What about that? Simply put, its "unclear" whether or not such an act breaches privacy laws. Each complaint has to be dealt with on its own merits to arrive to a conclusion whether or not the buyers privacy has been breached. As usual, again it's a process, like most legislative processes are, cumbersome, time consuming and complicated.
Buyers need to be vigilant and understand what they are up for in this consumeristic society we live in. Imagine visiting an open home and then hours or days later receiving calls from mortgage brokers trying to arrange finance for the very house you viewed and in your very name or nick name if that works!
Asking for the listing agents full details, an outline of terms and conditions on signing that innocent name register sitting in the hallway and whether your information will be passed to other third parties for marketing purposes.
You can see the practical issues that may arise when trying to deal with a "busy" agent who had a house that is very popular in the market and there's really no time for finding what the terms are for giving your name. "Do you want this house?", may be the echo in that hallway. Against the backdrop of that innocent red 2B5 exercise book with ruled margins to provide your full details and yes signature!
The herald ran a story recently:- http://m.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11328175
And the real estate agents professional conduct and client care rules 2012 in detail:- http://www.reaa.govt.nz/_layouts/download.aspx?SourceUrl=http://www.reaa.govt.nz/ForLicensees/Documents/Code%20of%20Conduct/REAA_Code%20of%20Conduct%202012%20WEB.pdf
Still there's not much cover for the 'buyer'!
Keep safe house hunters and don't become the hunted!
I have been in the legal industry for over a decade and have broad range of experience and skills.