How we store, protect and use information you give us
Britishgas.co.uk is brought to you by British Gas, which is owned by Centrica plc. Centrica plc and its subsidiary companies believe it is important to protect your privacy, and so we are committed to giving you a personalised service that meets your needs in a way that also protects that privacy.
This policy explains how we may collect information about you and then use it to meet your needs. It also explains some of the security measures we take to protect your privacy, as well as giving you information about things that we won’t do.
When we first ask you for your personal information, or when you take a new service or product from us, we will give you the opportunity to tell us if you do or do not want to receive information from us about other services or products. You can normally do this by ticking a box on an application form or contract. You may change your mind at any time by emailing us at the address below.
1. Using your personal information
1.1 We and our agents may use your information to:
- Provide you with the services you have asked for (which may include loyalty and incentive schemes we may run from time to time).
- Offer you accounts, services and products from time to time from us or our partners. To help us make these offers we may use an automated scoring system, which also uses information from credit reference agencies, as well as other companies.
- Help run, and contact you about improving the way we run, any accounts, services and products we have provided before, now or in the future.
- Create statistics, test computer systems, analyse customer information, create profiles and create marketing opportunities (including using information about what you buy from us and how you pay for it. For example, the amount of gas you use and any discounts we have offered you).
- Help prevent and detect debt, fraud and loss.
- Help train our staff.
- Contact you in any way (including by email, phone, text or multimedia message or other forms of electronic communications (such as a message through your smart meters)) about products and services we and our selected partners are offering.
1.2 We may also monitor and record any communications we have with you, including phone conversations and emails, to make sure we are providing a good service and meeting our regulatory and legal responsibilities.
2. Sources of information
When we contact you, we may use any information we hold about you to do so. So we may contact you by email, phone, text message or other forms of electronic communications (such as using smart meters) or by visiting you. If we are contacting you to tell you about any offers, as far as possible, do so in line with how you have told us you would prefer to receive marketing information (your recorded marketing preferences). You can ask us not to send you any information on our offers at any time by contacting us and giving us your account details.
3. Disclosing information
3.1 We may allow other people and organisations to use information we hold about you (including other Centrica Group companies such as those using the British Gas, Scottish Gas and Dyno Group brands):
- to provide services you have asked for, which may include providing information to members of your family or household, anyone acting on your behalf or other people who may be interested (such as landlords or letting agents);
- as part of the process of selling one or more of our businesses;
- to help to prevent and detect debt, fraud, or loss (for example by giving this information to a credit-reference agency) which is described in more detail below;
- if you do not pay your debt, we may transfer your debt to another organisation and give them details about you and that debt;
- if we have been asked (for example by Ofgem or a lawyer) to provide information for legal or regulatory purposes;
- as part of current or future legal action;
- as part of government data-sharing initiatives, for example, those designed to help stop fuel poverty (where people cannot afford to pay for heating and electricity);
- to help manage any loyalty or rewards schemes; or
- if you hold an insurance policy with us, to pass information to an insurer to manage your insurance policy (including underwriting and claims, to help develop new services and to assess financial and insurance risk).
3.2 From time to time these other people or organisations maybe outside the European Economic Area (EEA), and as a result we may pass your information to countries that do not have the same standards or protection for personal information as the UK.
3.3 If we suspect someone has committed fraud or stolen energy by tampering or with the meter or diverting the energy supply, we will record these details on your account record and may share this information with Ofgem and other people who are interested (such as other energy suppliers, landlords and housing associations). We may use this information to make decisions about you, your character, how likely we think you are to pay for your gas or electricity (or both) and future energy services. This may include recording sensitive personal information such as criminal offences you have been accused of. Also if the gas or electricity supply to your property has previously been tampered with or if gas or electricity has been stolen, or we suspect it has been stolen, we may take this into account when we decide what products or services we can offer you and the terms and conditions we give you.
3.4 You agree that we can ask your previous supplier for information that will allow us to take over your supply, such as information about meter readings and equipment or charges you owe your previous supplier. You agree that we can provide information we hold about you (such as information about meter readings, equipment or money you owe us) to your new supplier so they can begin supplying your gas and electricity.
3.5 If we believe that you (or a member of your household) need extra care (for example, because of your age, health, disability or financial circumstances), we may record this in the information we hold about you. We will use this information so that we do not stop your supply. We may share your information with:
- social services, charities, healthcare and other support organisations, if we believe at any time that they may be able to help you, or the other members of your household, by making sure there is a gas or electricity supply to your home;
- other energy suppliers if we believe you are considering changing supplier (we assess which customers need extra care and record and share this information in line with the Energy Retail Association 'safety net procedures'); and
- the relevant gas transporter, metering agents or network operator.
3.6 We may pass your address, property and postcode, and details of your gas appliances, flue, hot-water cylinder, system controls and electrical installations (including details of any repairs or removals) to organisations that supervise these activities including GasSafe (previously CORGI) and the ECA (Electrical Contractors Association). These organisations may pass this information to local authorities to meet building regulations. They may also use this information to contact you to inspect appliances or systems, recall faulty products and carry out audits, and for health and safety purposes. Where appropriate, we will give you or the property owner (or both) a certificate to show that your appliances and so on meet building regulations.
3.7 We will check your details with one or more credit-reference and fraud-prevention agencies to help us make decisions about your ability to make payments and the goods and services we can offer you. Below, we have given a brief guide to how we, the credit-reference and fraud-prevention agencies will use your information. If you would like more information about this, you can find the full version at www.britishgas.co.uk/termsandconditions. Or, phone us on 0800 048 0202 and we will send you a leaflet.
a. We will search at credit-reference and fraud-prevention agencies for information about you and all the people you are applying with. If you are providing information about other people on a joint application, you must make sure they agree that we can use their information to do this. If you give us false or inaccurate information and we suspect fraud, we will pass your details to credit-reference and fraud-prevention agencies. Law-enforcement agencies (such as the police and HM Revenue & Customs) may receive and use this information.
b. We and other organisations may also access and use information about you that credit-reference and fraud-prevention agencies give us to, for example:
- check details on applications you make for credit and credit-related services;
- check your identity;
- prevent and detect fraud and money laundering;
- manage credit and credit-related accounts or services;
- recover debt;
- check details on proposals and claims for all types of insurance; and
- check details of employees and people applying for jobs with us.
c. When credit-reference agencies receive a search from us, they will record this on your credit file whether your application is successful or not.
d. We will send information on your account to credit reference agencies and they will record it. If you have an account with us, we will give details of it and how you manage it to credit reference agencies. If you have an account and do not repay money you owe in full or on time, credit reference agencies will record this debt. They may give this information to other organisations and fraud prevention agencies to carry out similar checks, find out where you are and deal with any money you owe. The credit reference agencies keep records for six years after your account has been closed, you have paid the final debt or action has been taken against you to recover the debt.
e. We and other organisations may access and use, from other countries, information recorded by fraud-prevention agencies.
f. If you want to see what information credit-reference and fraud-prevention agencies hold about you, you can contact the following agencies currently working in the UK. The information they hold may not be the same, so it is worth contacting them all. They will charge you a small fee.
Consumer Services Team
PO Box 491
Phone: 0870 060 1414
Consumer Help Service
PO Box 8000
Phone: 0870 241 6212
Credit File Advice Centre
PO Box 1140
Phone: 0844 335 0550
4 If you give us information on behalf of someone else, you confirm you have given them the information set out in this document, and that they have given permission for us to use their personal information in the way we have described in clause 10. If you give us sensitive information about yourself or other people (such as health details or details of any criminal convictions of members of your household), you agree (and confirm that the person the information is about has agreed) that we can use this information in the way set out in this document.
5 You are entitled to have a copy of the information we hold on you and to have any inaccurate information corrected. We may charge a small fee for providing a copy of any information we hold about you. For more information about this please contact our Privacy Unit at Lakeside West, 30 The Causeway, Staines, TW18 3BY. Or you can email CentricaDataProtection@Centrica.com.
4. Protecting your information
We have strict security measures to protect personal information. This includes following certain procedures (for example, checking your identity when you phone us) and encrypting (encoding) data on our websites.
5. The internet
If you communicate with us using the internet, we may occasionally email you about our services and products. When you first give us personal information through our website, we will normally give you the opportunity to say whether you would prefer us not to contact you by email. However, you can always send us an email (at the address set out below) at any time if you change your mind.
Please remember that communications over the Internet, such as emails and webmails (messages sent through a website), are not secure unless they have been encrypted. Your communications may go through a number of countries before they are delivered - this is the nature of the Internet. We cannot accept responsibility for any unauthorised access or loss of personal information that is beyond our control.
We may use 'cookies' to monitor how people use our site. This helps us to understand how our customers and potential customers use our website so we can develop and improve the design, layout and function of the sites. A cookie is a piece of information that is stored on your computer's hard drive which records how you have used a website. This means that when you go back to that website, it can give you tailored options based on the information it has stored about your last visit. You can normally alter the settings of your browser to prevent it from accepting cookies.
We use 'cookies' on our site. Visit our cookies policy to find out more and manage cookies.
8. Further Information
We may amend this policy from time to time, in which case we will publish the amended version on our website, and you can ask us for a copy by writing to the above address or by emailing us at CentricaDataProtection@centrica.com.
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