Bank’s contact was legitimate communication, not marketing

Retaining personal information,
Nathaniel said that in 2010 he asked the bank not to contact him or his wife to try to sell them its products and services. Twelve years later, in August 2022, the bank called him one evening offering to review his banking products and services to ensure they remained suited to his financial circumstances. Nathaniel replied that he did not want the bank to call him with such offers and that he had explicitly opted out of all contact years ago. A month later, his wife received an email from the bank containing an identical offer.
May 2024

Nathaniel considered the bank had mistakenly changed all customers’ marketing preferences to “on” when it updated its computer systems in 2018. The bank explained that it had only set a customer’s preferences to “on” where there was no previous record of a customer opting out of marketing. Nathaniel became concerned bank staff were accessing his personal and account information without his consent, and he also became frustrated that the bank would not provide a full list of instances in which staff had accessed his customer profile, and for what reason.

Our investigation

We found the terms and conditions of Nathaniel’s accounts were explicit about how the bank would collect, store and use his personal information. The terms and conditions said the bank was able to use Nathaniel’s personal information to contact him about products or services it offered and also to offer to review his banking arrangements to ensure the various products and services he used remained most suited to his financial circumstances. We could find no record of his request in 2010 that the bank not contact him or his wife with such offers, but it would have made no difference to the outcome of his complaint because the bank – like us – did not consider such offers to be “marketing” but rather service-related communications to ensure the bank was still providing them with the most suitable services for their needs. Even if the bank had mistakenly contacted Nathaniel and his wife, they had suffered no direct financial loss or any significant inconvenience as a result of the contact.


We did not uphold Nathaniel’s complaint.

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