© Copyright 2012 United Utilities Group PLC
This notice applies to personal information we hold about individuals, sole traders and partnerships. It does not apply to information we hold about companies and other large organisations. It explains how we may collect information about you and then use it. It also explains some of the security measures we take to protect your privacy, and tells you certain things we will not do. We also tell you what your rights are, and how you can get in touch with us, and give links to other policies which you might find helpful.
United Utilities is a group of companies which includes United Utilities Group. Further details of these companies can be found in the subsidiaries section of this website. We, United Utilities, will process any personal information that you or third parties provide to us and have the relevant registrations in the United Kingdom under the Data Protection Act 1998. We will comply with the provisions of this Act, including in relation to the security of any personal information which is supplied to us and/or which we ask you to provide to us. We endeavour to take all reasonable steps to protect your personal information.
You understand that we may use your personal details if you are registered as a user of the services provided by United Utilities or use the United Utilities web site generally for the purposes which we describe in this policy. The purpose of this statement is to set out how your personal information will be used by companies within United Utilities.
- When you use this site, you may supply and/or be asked to provide certain information such as your contact details, bank details, or other information relating to services you have with us. We will store this data and hold it, for instance, on computer systems. We will use this data to provide you with the services or information you have requested and for other purposes which we set out in this policy.
- Information (including information on the services we provide you such as water usage and about any monies you owe us) that you provide or that is obtained by United Utilities or kept in its customer records, will be shared within United Utilities to help us understand your relationship across the whole of United Utilities, and to effectively administer your overall relationship with us. We will also use this information for assessment and analysis (e.g. customer satisfaction, customer and product analysis, marketing, fraud prevention ) to enable us to review, develop and improve the services which we offer and to understand and select products and services which we think, from the information we have about you, will interest you or be of benefit to you.
- We may also give information about you as follows:
- to employees and agents of the group to administer any accounts, products and services provided to your by the group now or in the future;
- to collection agencies, credit reference agencies, fraud prevention agencies, lawyers, and local authorities to help us manage, administer, trace and collect debts on your accounts;
- to anyone to whom we transfer or may transfer our rights and duties under our agreement with you;
- if we have a duty to do so or if the law allows or requires us to do so; to the police and other law enforcement agencies investigating criminal offences if we are satisfied of the circumstances surrounding the request.
Email - You should be aware that information conveyed by e-mail could be deliberately or accidentally intercepted or corrupted. The company does not accept any responsibility for any changes or breaches of confidence which may arise through use of this medium. The content of e-mails sent and received by company employees may be intercepted or monitored by the company for security and training purposes. Whilst we make every effort to ensure that e-mails we send to you are free from viruses this cannot be guaranteed. We recommend that you scan all e-mail for viruses with appropriate and frequently updated virus checking software.
You are advised not to use e-mail to send us credit/debit card information, bank account details, billing or other personally identifiable information as e-mail may travel unencrypted and can be read by anyone who receives or intercepts it. Once your information reaches us, we store it behind a secure firewall that blocks access to the information from outside of our network. Only United Utilities authorised individuals and, where necessary, those of our third party partners, are allowed to access the information.
We take reasonable precautions to protect your information, however you should understand that "perfect security" does not exist on the internet or on email networks and that use of these mediums involves some level of risk to you.
Method of response - You acknowledge and agree that we may treat specific actions by you, such as sending us an email, or supplying us with an email address for customer services to respond to you, as a request that we may, where necessary, communicate in our response personal and/or account information by email. We also reserve the right to select an alternative method to communicate with you. We may update your account with the email address you contact us with.
If you have given us your mobile phone number we may update your account with it and use it to contact you. Please let us know if your details such as your address, mobile phone number and/or email address change so that we can keep your records up to date.
Where you communicate with United Utilities electronically (including by email, telephone or fax) this communication will be recorded and randomly monitored for training, quality and security purposes.
When one of our customer advisors/employees needs to contact you to discuss your account or the services and products we supply you with, they will ask you security questions in order to validate your identity and protect the information we hold about you.
Disclosure of personal information - We will not disclose your personal information unless we are permitted to do so by law. Instances where we may share your personal information include:
- With our employees and contractors, including specialist data processors, in order to help provide our service to you.
- With credit reference, and fraud prevention, agencies in order to locate and identify our customers, understand their ability to pay, help prevent and detect fraud, or as part of our debt collection process - for more information please read 'Changes to how we manage your personal details'.
- With external agencies in the event of an emergency situation, such as under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004.
- When we are under a legal duty to do so, because of a court order or statutory obligation.
- Where we believe that you may be interested in the services offered by other organisations.
- To the protection and detection of crime.
- For research purposes.
Web Chat - The web chat system's main purpose is to provide an easy-to-use channel for customers to contact United Utilities. Users of this channel are reminded that any form of abuse towards employees which could include any information deemed by us to be unlawful, harmful, threatening, abusive, harassing, defamatory, vulgar, obscene, a personal attack on a person’s character, hateful, racially derogatory or otherwise objectionable is prohibited. We reserve the right to immediately terminate a web chat and/or deny the web chat facility to any person, at any time, with or without prior notice, with or without explanation.
In such cases, we reserve the right to collect and process the IP address relevant to the unacceptable behaviour and use this to identify the user with the intention of either bringing a civil claim against them in Court and/or reporting (disclosing) any abuse to the Police. We may share this information with the affected employee should they wish to take their own action.
Please note that every year, when we send bills to you, we are required by our regulators to supply you with certain information and this information will be included with your bill. If you have agreed to received products and services from another company and later decide not to, you will need to contact that company yourself to let them know.
Cookies - In order that we can monitor and improve the site, we may gather certain information about your use, including details of your domain name and IP address, operating system and browser type, for system administration. New technologies are emerging on the internet that help us to deliver customised visitor experiences. In particular, there is a technology called "cookies" which may be used by us to provide you with customised information from our web site. A cookie is an element of data that a web site can send to your browser, which may then store it on your system. Find out more about cookies.
Datasharing - We want to be able to identify who our customers are, make the best and fair decisions we can about the extent of their responsibility and their ability to pay for the services we are required to supply. We want to be able to place them on the best payment arrangement or payment assistance scheme with a view to helping them avoid water debt or become free of water debt. We are also aware, due to the way our industry is set up, that we need to seek out sources of accurate, up to date and relevant information about our customers in order to meet our DPA compliance obligations as well as our business responsibilities.
We’ve recently decided to share information on all new and existing accounts with Credit Reference Agencies (CRAs) and, when fraud is suspected, Fraud Prevention Agencies (FPAs). These are highly reputable organisations that help to trace people who don’t pay their bills. They strictly safeguard the personal information we share with them about our customers. CRAs or FPAs won’t use your information to send you sales or marketing material you haven’t asked for. Our leaflet explains the full details of how your data may be used.
What we will share with CRAs: Each month we will automatically share the outstanding balance and a status reflecting the customer’s payment behaviour. If a customer is a good payer (pays their bills on time) this will be shared each month with their account balance and a status ‘0’ which tells Equifax that this customer is up to date. Customers who are more than 1 month behind will be shared as a ‘1’, 2 months a ‘2’ etc, but the highest number is a 6.
Once a customer has not paid us for 6 months then the account goes into default. When this happens, we will then issue the customer with a default notice (legal notice). Once a default notice is issued to the customer they are given a deadline date in which to make a payment. If they still do not make a payment by that date we will then let the CRA know and a default marker will be placed on the customer’s credit file.
The information that we send to Equifax is as follows:
• Customers data share reference number
• Date account opened
• Date account closed
• Default date – the date an account was defaulted
• Date of birth
• Current balance
• Default balance – the amount defaulted
• Repayment frequency – if on a payment plan
We strongly advise that you read the contents of our quick guide to data sharing.
Your Rights - You have the right to see information about personal data (as defined in the Data Protection Act) we keep about you upon written request, identification and payment of a fee.
If you wish to make a request to access your information please contact:
Data Protection and Fraud Manager, United Utilities, Grasmere House, Lingley Mere Business Park, Lingley Green Avenue, Warrington WA5 3LP. If you would prefer a third party to act on your behalf you will need to complete our authorisation form, giving us permission to discuss your personal details with your nominated person or organisation.
Please be aware that this policy applies only to http://www.unitedutilities.com/ and http://corporate.unitedutilities.com. These sites may link to other web sites that may be accessed through our site. If you follow a link to any of these websites, please note that these websites have their own Terms & Conditions and privacy policies. We are not responsible for the data policies or procedures or the content of linked non-United Utilities websites.
Related Policies – for further information about how we collect, use and protect your information please see the links below to related policies:
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