If you sent your FoI info to them anonymously then it's likely they hold no personal info about you but you're obviously entitled to ask for the info they do hold.
I'm sure we all know why companies are using FoI like this - @BrotherSidious says they could just have sent a customer survey. Well, of course they could (and perhaps they did) but most such things end up in the bin. If you're trying to keep your business successful then you need to use every available method to find possible openings.
I'm sure the FoI Act wasn't passed solely for the purpose of helping businesses during a recession but I see no reason why it shouldn't be used like that.
I know some people get incredibly worked up about people phoning them trying to sell stuff and I've never understood why - it really shouldn't be a big deal (but I suppose some people just like having something to get upset about - witness all the ranty people on radio phone-ins and TV programmes or look at the Daily Mail etc for ample evidence of that)
My problem is that I simply don't have the time to answer hundreds of sales calls! It's not just an inconvenience it's a waste of my time, and usually, time I don't have. I'm not sure how many sales calls you get but after we reach the first 5-10 by mid morning (especially when they lie and scam to try and get information/money out of us) I think it's perfectly reasonable to get worked up!
If you're going to use an FoI request as a means of scouting commercial opportunities then that really is the last straw, why would I want to deal with anyone like that...
Go with my new line 'Sorry we don't do business with cold callers'. Ends calls quickly I find.
Originally Posted by Crispin
Agreed. Add the word "Goodbye", put the phone down, job done in about 10 seconds and life moves on!
Originally Posted by localzuk
I have phoned SCC regarding this. The person who would be best placed to deal with my query was on the phone but is going to call me back. I explained about "Tom Elliiot" and the SCC reply. The person I spoke to was extremely concerned as neither Tom Elliot or the person who was named on the read receipt are listed in the company directory and as far as they can tell they do not exist. They are looking in to this urgently and I will update everyone when they return my call. The lady I spoke to did thank me for bringing this to their attention as it is concerning for all of us.
The issue isn't that they sent an FoI request per se, it is that the request is from a company hiding behind a Google mail address and possibly even using a fake name.
Originally Posted by srochford
To me that immediately raises trust issues.
If a customer survey hadn't been responded to and then they followed up with an FoI that I would find acceptable assuming also not hidden behind an alias.
I'm not sure how your establishment works, but ours only buys when we are ready and the purchases are planned, special offers be d****d it's not planned spending so we won't spend. Sales calls are a complete waste of both parties time unless the other party is calling to introduce themselves as a new supplier or inform us of an account manager change.
Originally Posted by srochford
Wasting time explaining (usually not for the first time) that we will send offers to tender when we require something is irritating - or at least IMO irritating.
Sales director's PA just phoned to confirm they are investigating the issue and they will call me back. Must admit they have phoned back very promptly and seem genuinely concerned by this.
As of 14:10 had no call back back but I suspect it may take them a while to investigate this.
I haven't posted on here before, but found this thread very useful when I was checking out this FOIA email, so thought I'd register to share this.
I emailed the company yesterday morning and had a long detailed reply today (at 6.30pm on a Friday evening!) full of apologies and claiming the anonymous email ID was to get unbiased data (hmm...) and was common practice although they've not used it with schools before. It appears they did not expect the response they've had from schools.
I get lots of email surveys from Schoolzone and the like, and they always manage to say who they are; my step-daughter, who works in marketing, raised her eyebrows when I asked her opinion.
Following on from my phone coversation I have recieved a reply. This email follows what Chris has said in the post above. In brief summary:
FOI is used to get info that is otherwise difficult to obtain
This is the first time they have used FOI with Schools
They send it as someone else so the get an unbiased response
However, they go on to state that they did not think this would cause such a reaction within schools and as such "have instructed the data team to stop any such activity in schools".
As such, I feel that as a company they have listened to our concerns and addressed our issues so for me personally this is now satisfactorily resolved.
I would like an opinion about sending this reply to the company.......
Following some information I have gathered, I understand you have emailed my school amongst others regarding a FOI request related to ICT using the email firstname.lastname@example.org
What concerns me is that you have used an anonymous ‘alias’ to ascertain such information, and if you so request I will still respond with the information.
But I will add your company to the list of companies I will not deal with and I will be ensuring that my fellow Somerset schools are aware which company has caused this much work at the busiest point of our school term.
I will await confirmation you still wish to receive this information and will then reply by the 4th September (20 working days from original request on 30th June)
You are free to use any information I will supply for your own use, including for non-commercial research purposes. The information may also be used for the purposes of news reporting. However, any other type of re-use, for example, by publishing the information, using it for marketing purposes or issuing copies to the public will require the permission of the copyright owner."
I'd just forward it to the company asking if it is from them and if they'd like the opportunity to withdraw the request.
Originally Posted by bigaitchc
Can you post or pm the contact details for you contact at this company please?
Originally Posted by BrotherSidious
I have been advised by the local authority I do have to comply!
Originally Posted by powdarrmonkey
Bigaitchc. When did you receive this request as if it is from Tom Elliot then I was advised that their Data Team were instructed to stop sending these last Friday.
I am not sure about posting the contact details for the email I received back from them directly on this forum but I will PM them to individuals if requested.
[QUOTE=BrotherSidious;541919]Bigaitchc. When did you receive this request as if it is from Tom Elliot then I was advised that their Data Team were instructed to stop sending these last Friday.
I am not sure about posting the contact details for the email I received back from them directly on this forum but I will PM them to individuals if requested.[/QUOTE
Hi it came to me on 30th June.