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Claiming Compensation Under Data Protection Act

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 21 Jul 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Data Protection Act Compensation

You can claim compensation under the Data Protection Act if an organisation's breach of the Act's provisions meant that you underwent "damage, or damage and distress." This is extreme, but if you have proof that it happened, it's a course worth considering. The burden of proof will lie with you of course, as you're bringing the action and though it should be relatively easy to find evidence of damage, distress can be a lot tougher to prove. It's always best to exhaust the other avenues first if you can.

Restrictions

Before you make a claim however, you have to distinguish between damage and distress - which can be a very tricky point and distress can be a very nebulous thing. Under the law, if all you suffered was distress because of the processing, then you can only make a claim if the data has been used for "special purposes" and only three categories are allowed - artistic, literary or journalistic.

How to Claim Compensation

If the organisation offers you compensation, then everything can be settled easily. If you can't reach an agreement however, you'll need to take them to court (although most organisations would prefer to pay a small amount than face the glare of bad publicity). You can either specify the amount of compensation you want the court to award you (known as "liquidated damages"), or leave the decision up to the judge ("unliquidated damages"). Your claim should also contain an application that demands the organisation remedy the breach in the Act that caused the damage in the first place.

Generally, if your claim is for less than £5000, the court will put the case under the small claims procedure, which means you won't need to use a solicitor; you can handle the case yourself.

The Amount of Compensation

The amount of compensation is up to the judge; the Act offers no guidelines for compensation levels. This means he has to take a number of things into account, including the extent of the breach and its effect on you.

Even in the case of liquidated, or specified damages, where the sum you've stated is simply the same as the amount you've lost because of the organisation's actions, the judge might disallow part of your claim. He can also award you a lesser amount than you asked for, or possibly even nothing at all.

Getting Your Money

In most instances however, if an organisation is found to have done wrong and you've proved damage and distress, you'll receive at least some money in compensation and the organisation will pay relatively promptly.

If they don't however, or they refuse or can't pay, that leaves them in breach of the court. This means that you have to return to court to learn how you can enforce the judgement. This might even involve new proceedings, which can end up being more time-consuming than the amount is worth.

As an extreme measure, consider starting bankruptcy proceedings against the organisation if they refuse to pay. This course of action often achieves very quick results, but shouldn't be taken hastily.

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I have changed my name legally and a first aid company gave my new employer my original name as this wasn't changed on their system. I hadn't notified my employer of my change of name. Can I get compensation from the first aid company?
Jo - 21-Jul-17 @ 10:21 PM
I was waiting for the Housing Ombudsman to give me a decision,and send me a report. After a few days had passed, I contacted them to find out wheremy report was andI was told that It had been posted two weeks previously, but as I did not receive it they would email a copy to me. When I read my copy I noticed that they had got my address wrong and sent it to another neighbour who had been involved in this matter. The ombudsman isnow investigating this data breach, but who can I report The Housing ombudsman to, is it ICO. ?
smudge - 20-Jul-17 @ 4:25 PM
Hi, Iv had an email from Dwp/parliament saying that my email I sent in December is one of the ones that have been breached.Id already put a complaint in about my treatment by the Dwp and assessor as the stress they caused me made me agoraphobic.Id already had a nervous breakdown and lost my job.So this was a complaint to them then and Iv got one in now, I won my appeal against the Dwp decision, the wait caused me more unnecessary stress.So when parliaments data was breached I'm assuming the issue that was on the news? They sent an email apologising and saying they don't know if it will be used or not.Not exactly that wording.They had caused me enough stress, now someone? Has my personal information as it's in the complaint.Im not happy with them already, let alone this.What are my options? They have admitted it in the email and don't even know who has it.
Ket - 11-Jul-17 @ 6:45 PM
Nicole - Your Question:
Question - my doctors gp have sent a letter to my sister in law containing my medical records from hospital that they should of sent to me. I can't understand how they could do this when on the letter it states my name address and dob but they still manage to sent it to my sister in law. Can I do anything about this?

Our Response:
You should write a letter of complaint. If you want to take it further - report it to the information commissioner and seek legal advice about compensation levels.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 7-Jul-17 @ 11:21 AM
Question - my doctors gphave sent a letter to my sister in law containing my medical records from hospital that they should of sent to me. I can't understand how they could do this when on the letter it states my name address and dob but they still manage to sent it to my sister in law. Can I do anything about this?
Nicole - 6-Jul-17 @ 11:43 AM
Mo - Your Question:
Hello all. Now guess what.My current insurance company cancelled my insurance, we recieved a card from the post man to notify us (my girlffriend and me ) he been here to hand a letter which requires a signature. We weren't expecting a parcel for sure firstly and secondly they sent us a letter which needed a sign. Fine. They never called us to follow up with the no claims discount which I had requested from my previous insurance company. Now the part that makes me frustrated, while I'm trying my best for my current insurance policy not to be cancelled the manager does not sympathise and says I will need to call your insurance company to check if this is correct ! He also says once we have confirmation that this no claims certificate is good he will then have to put me on a new policy. Which means I'm loosing out on my no claims discount and having to take out another insurance policy which I can't afford to as these insurance prices are sky high. So he makes a call to my last insurance company and calls me back saying they wouldn't confirm this with me as I'm in debt with them. Now when I rang up the insurance company that same day they never told me anything about a debt. Didn't send me no letters seeking payment of any sort. Is this a breach ? Thanks in advance

Our Response:
We can't really comment on this as we don't have the full details of your previous insurance policy etc.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 30-Jun-17 @ 2:01 PM
Hello all. Now guess what. My current insurance company cancelled my insurance, we recieved a card from the post man to notify us (my girlffriend and me ) he been here to hand a letter which requires a signature. We weren't expecting a parcel for sure firstly and secondly they sent us a letter which needed a sign. Fine. They never called us to follow up with the no claims discount which I had requested from my previous insurance company. Now the part that makes me frustrated, while I'm trying my best for my current insurance policy not to be cancelled the manager does not sympathise and says I will need to call your insurance company to check if this is correct ! He also says once we have confirmation that this no claims certificate is good he will then have to put me on a new policy. Which means I'm loosing out on my no claims discount and having to take out another insurance policy which i can't afford to as these insurance prices are sky high. So he makes a call to my last insurance company and calls me back saying they wouldn't confirm this with me as I'm in debt with them. Now when I rang up the insurance company that same day they never told me anything about a debt. Didn't send me no letters seeking payment of any sort.Is this a breach ? Thanks in advance
Mo - 29-Jun-17 @ 10:48 PM
jayne - Your Question:
I recently set up a payment plan with a debt collection agency. my partner also set up a payment plan (completely different account and not linked to me in any way). However when he spoke to them to set up his payment plan and they wanted to send email confirmation they advised him that I also had a plan set up with them and they would use my email to send confirmation. At no point had I given them permission to discuss this with my partner (I actually hadn't told him I had a debt that I was repaying). He now knows and I didn't want him too. what should I do as I expected my information to remain confidential now my partner knows I have run up a debt and is not overly happy with me for not telling him. - would this count as distress caused.

Our Response:
Make a complaint to the company, ask them what their policy is regarding people at the same address etc. If necessary report them to the Information Commissioner
ConsumerRightsExpert - 28-Jun-17 @ 10:56 AM
I recently set up a payment plan with a debt collection agency. my partner also set up a payment plan (completely different account and not linked to me in any way). However when he spoke to them to set up his payment plan and they wanted to send email confirmation they advised him that I also had a plan set up with them and they would use my email to send confirmation. At no point had I given them permission to discuss this with my partner (I actually hadn't told him I had a debt that I was repaying). He now knows and I didn't want him too. what should I do as I expected my information to remain confidential now my partner knows I have run up a debt and is not overly happy with me for not telling him. - would this count as distress caused.
jayne - 26-Jun-17 @ 4:40 PM
Dania - Your Question:
Hi,We went to furniture village over a year ago to purchase a mattress. We paid for it and was given a receipt. We had drone problems with the mattress and when I got the receipt out I noticed a name,phone number and address on it that wasn't ours. After a bit of a nightmare regarding the mattress they agreed to a reselection so we ordered another mattress and were given another invoice. I had to call the shop regarding the uplift of my old mattress, and when the guy put my details in he said my name address and phone number was on thousands of invoices!!! I then started receiving phone calls from people assuming I was furniture village. I contacted them and they just ignored me so I directed it to the ico who have told me they have co tacked them and informed them of the breach and actions they need to take to prevent it. I feel that this is not going to help they flouted dpa and we're not bothered. They put my family at risk and causes us so much stress and it feels like nothing has been done

Our Response:
The job of the ICO is to prevent this kind of thing, so on contacting them they will take action to ensure the company acts within the legislation. If you want to seek damages/compensation etc for you losses, you will need to do via the courts.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 15-Jun-17 @ 2:27 PM
Hi, We went to furniture village over a year ago to purchase a mattress. We paid for it and was given a receipt. We had drone problems with the mattress and when I got the receipt out I noticed a name,phone number and address on it that wasn't ours. After a bit of a nightmare regarding the mattress they agreed to a reselection so we ordered another mattress and were given another invoice. I had to call the shop regarding the uplift of my old mattress, and when the guy put my details in he said my name address and phone number was on thousands of invoices!!! I then started receiving phone calls from people assuming I was furniture village. I contacted them and they just ignored me so I directed it to the ico who have told me they have co tacked them and informed them of the breach and actions they need to take to prevent it. I feel that this is not going to help they flouted dpa and we're not bothered. They put my family at risk and causes us so much stress and it feels like nothing has been done
Dania - 13-Jun-17 @ 8:37 AM
Can I please ask if the ICO has indeed found the local government body to be in breach of the DPA and you've been issued with the final letter etc. Should you decide to start court proceedings but cannot afford a solicitor do you use the form N1?
Ra - 15-May-17 @ 3:11 PM
Ross - Your Question:
Hi I am currently in the process of applying to NISCC in Northern Ireland to be placed on their system as a Registered Support Worker as per the legal requirements set out by law which states all Care workers should now be officially registered. I began the application then saved my progress to complete at a later date. when I returned to the NISCC website and logged in with the same details I have now found that my details are merged with another persons of the same name. I am able to see his employment history and sensitive information such as his dismissal from a previous employment and reasons for this.This is obviously a breech of Data Protection so where do I stand now in regards to legal action? Many thanks in advance.

Our Response:
Firstly complain to the NISCC so they are aware of this error on their system and can amend it before it affects someone else. Secondly raise your concerns with the Information Comissioner Here , thirdly, if you want financial compensation, it might be worth contact a solicitor.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 21-Apr-17 @ 12:34 PM
Hi I am currently in the process of applying to NISCC in Northern Ireland to be placed on their system as a Registered Support Worker as per the legal requirements set out by law which states all Care workers should now be officially registered. I began the application then saved my progress to complete at a later date. when I returned to the NISCC website and logged in with the same details I have now found that my details are merged with another persons of the same name. I am able to see his employment history and sensitive information such as his dismissal from a previous employment and reasons for this.This is obviously a breech of Data Protection so where do I stand now in regards to legal action? Many thanks in advance.
Ross - 18-Apr-17 @ 6:32 PM
Anne - Your Question:
Mu ex husband was able to insure a car 2 yeara ago on my insurance policy even though we had split 6 months earlier, I had no idea of this untill I receive a letter from my insurance company regarding a payment for it, I was angry with the company and told them under no circumstance should my policiy be used by anyone else amd was assured it would be placed on file. then the same company took a payment from my personal bank account for my ex husbands insurance policy just 5 months ago amd now just 2 daya ago my ex husband rung my insurance company amd was given details regarding my car policy and my payments, having spoken to the company today they were very blasé about it and said they didnt notice it was slapped all over the screen not to allow anyone other then myself access to my policy details, now ex saying he not giving me one weeks child money as im saving 80 on my car insurance the next 2 months, where do I stand with this as surely its a massive breech by the company

Our Response:
Insurance companies are normally very scrupulous about speaking only to the policy holder. You should make a formal complaint to the company. If you want compensation mention this in your complaint. Then consider the courts or the financil ombudsman. It's definitely worth thinking about changing your insurer for subsequent years.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 6-Apr-17 @ 10:48 AM
Mu ex husband was able to insure a car 2 yeara ago on my insurance policy even though we had split 6 months earlier, i had no idea of this untill i receive a letter from my insurance company regarding a payment for it, i was angry with the company and told them under no circumstance should my policiy be used by anyone else amd was assured it would be placed on file .... then the same company took a payment from my personal bank account for my ex husbands insurance policy just 5 months ago amd now just 2 daya ago my ex husband rung my insurance company amd was given details regarding my car policy and my payments, having spoken to the company today they were very blasé about it and said they didnt notice it was slapped all over the screen not to allow anyone other then myself access to my policy details, now ex saying he not giving me one weeks child money as im saving 80 on my car insurance the next 2 months, where do i stand withthis as surely its a massive breech by the company
Anne - 4-Apr-17 @ 1:40 PM
Good evening, Received a call from IKEA regarding my faulty sofa, only the sofa which I bought was at my exs house (messy end to the relationship) he had managed to get another girl to phone ikea pretending to be me and use my data information to get a replacement sofa! Ikea phoned me as I was the card holder and my information is on their books, only to not know anything about it!! So not only did my ex cause fraud, IKEA allowed someone to use my account!! What can I do?? Many thanks
Missylc - 28-Mar-17 @ 5:29 PM
Just after 3 pm made a purchase of 2 pairs of shoes, treatment spray and forgot to take card from payment terminal.. telephoned shortly after and asked if card was there.Was greatly relieved when told it was .. said be at the store before closing or if missed would be in the next morning.Staff told me that unable to hold overnight .. After certain amount of pleading from myself it was agreed that my card would be held in secure place overnight if needed. I decided to change my plans and go and get my card. ... but when I got there the other member of staff had cut my card up and thrown pieces in with their rubbish .... I was shocked, furious and extremely concerned for security of my cut up card and I needed card over on coming days for major purchases.The outcome was spoke to area manager and rule was cards to be securely cut after 24 hours .... a little different from the 3 hours max I had from purchase to my store return ... company sympathetic and offered goodwill gesture and my cut up card retrieved from the rubbish .... I am angry and without access to card for over week.What should I do ?
Patchie - 24-Mar-17 @ 5:39 PM
Just after 3 pm made a purchase of 2 pairs of shoes, treatment spray and forgot to take card from payment terminal.. telephoned shortly after and asked if card was there.Was greatly relieved when told it was .. said be at the store before closing or if missed would be in the next morning.Staff told me that unable to hold overnight .. After certain amount of pleading from myself it was agreed that my card would be held in secure place overnight if needed. I decided to change my plans and go and get my card. ... but when I got there the other member of staff had cut my card up and thrown pieces in with their rubbish .... I was shocked, furious and extremely concerned for security of my cut up card and I needed card over on coming days for major purchases.The outcome was spoke to area manager and rule was cards to be securely cut after 24 hours .... a little different from the 3 hours max I had from purchase to my store return ... company sympathetic and offered goodwill gesture and my cut up card retrieved from the rubbish .... I am angry and without access to card for over week.What should I do ?
Patchie - 24-Mar-17 @ 5:39 PM
Hi I wrote on the 2-Mar-17 @ 8:05 PM, my name is Fran. You might have thought my message was a prank or that was it inappropriate, as I mentioned incontinence. Please accept my apologies, if you were offended. The only reason I have you such graphic detail was to make it absolutely clear, my Law Centre sent the most highly sensitive information to my neighbors and to make clear the level of embarrassment the breach has caused. I thought in order for you to appraise mysituation and whether there would be a possibility of compensation in my circumstances, was to give you a insight to the extent of what has happened to me. I was wondering if you might be able to reply to my query please. Thank you, Fran.
fran - 23-Mar-17 @ 5:37 PM
Hi, I took my PC to be repaired(it was under 1yr old and under warranty) at John Lewis, I then paid for them to take a back up of my data as a precaution. Finally after nearly 7 months?! John Lewis decided to refund me minus depreciation as the PC was not able to be repaired, I've gone to collect my data and all has been wiped. It was 196gb of photos and videos of my children, taken over 10 years. They have simply apologised. Where do I take this next, I don't think an apology is adequate. Many thanks Lisa
Lisa - 7-Mar-17 @ 12:22 PM
Hi there I am currently renewing my mortgage when to my surprise a manager from the Yorkshire bank contacted me apologising saying they have sent all my mortgage details to the wrong address and offered me a £20 good will gesture surely this is wrong? What would my next steps be.
Harry - 7-Mar-17 @ 10:46 AM
jfre - Your Question:
A bar has posted cctv footage of me on social media, telling people I have stolen something and asking people to name and shame me in order to win a prize. What do I do?

Our Response:
Contact the police if you're unsure about this.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 3-Mar-17 @ 2:23 PM
Offshore Worker - Your Question:
Hi,I received a letter from my ex employer stating that my personal data was copied when their dosimetry service provider had a cyber security attack during routine IT maintenance performed by an IT contractor who violated their IT security policy, they have since terminated their relationship with the contractor.It has been communicated that personal data of mine copied by the cyber attack was my name, DOB and/or National Identity Number (NIN) and Personal Public Service Number (PPSN).Due to the business nature of the service provider who was the target of the cyber attack I also worry that medical records may have been copied due to radiation medicals that I had to complete and feel that they may be withholding this information. I'm currently offshore after recently gaining employment post redundancy for which I had to sell my house and move my wife and kids in with my parents in law.I'm absolutely stressed and at my wit's end thinking about the various ways that I can be targeted by this situation. Will someone attempt Identity theft? Will it effect me getting a mortgage when I can afford it? All of these things are extremely worrying and where I am offshore does not allow me to keep track of normal things due to poor communication with shore.As this dosimetry service provider has admitted guilt, can I claim compensation for the theft of my data and all of the unknowns that are causing me all of this undue stress? It seems to be one thing after another and im the one paying for it all.They have offered free membership to Experian for a year but frankly this is not enough for the upset and absolute violation experienced.Your thoughts and any guidance would be much appreciated.Kind Regards

Our Response:
You will need to seek professional legal advice to assess the possibility of a successful compensation claim.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 3-Mar-17 @ 2:14 PM
Hi My local Law Centre are representing me at a DWP ESA Appeal tribunal. I was waiting for them to send me a copy of the DWP medical assessment and the DWP appeal documents. This morning, one of my neighbour put a transparent plastic bag through my letterbox, with a sticky label attached saying "Opened by mistake - Mike No 9". Inside the bag was an envelope, with my name at the top but addressed to No 9 my neighbours house. Inside the envelope, was my medical assessment and the DWP ESA appeal tribunal documents. My medical condition is a serious illness, with the extremely embarrassing consequence of 'severe double incontinence'. Now not only do the resident of No 9 know but soon enough, the gossip will spear to my other neighbours. I rang the Law Centre, to inform them of this major breach and the solicitor responsible responded with a apathetic "Sorry about that", when I asked what will be done to ensure my data is not breached again, I was given a flippant "I'll just have to be more careful in future". 1. My financial circumstances and income data has been breached and disclosed to my neighbours, as they now know I am an ESA claimant 2. My very serious and highly embarrassing medical condition data has been breached and disclosed to my neighbours, in documents that not only detail my current medical status but also my medical 'History and treatment' 3. My legal affairs, regarding my appeal tribunal data has also been breached and disclosed to my neighbours 4. Unlike disclosures from one organisation to another, which is contained behind their walls and doors - the disclosure to my neighbours, as I have lived here 17 years, I know my neighbours well enough to know this will be the subject of gossip and embarrassmentthat I will not be able to escape. I see my neighbours everyday and I will have to feel the embarrassment every time I see them, for however many years. 5. Only my Mother knows the full details of my condition, as she is my next of kin, so she knows I almost died and I have undergone several major surgeries. NO OTHER relative or friend knows the full extent of my medical condition i.e. severe double incontinence; as as I stay home the majority of the time, as my condition makes it too difficult to go out and I discourage visitors also. Therefore, I had kept the details of my medical condition totally private and now all my neighbours know. I cannot see how there would be financial damages in this situation, however, I am sure it is clear I am and will continue to experience extreme distress, that is inescapable, as it is at my home where I live everyday, every time I see my neighbours. I would like to make sure the solicitors and his employers are made to treat this seriously and acknowledge it it not acceptable and they can't just shrug their shoulders. Can you advise me whether you think I would have a claim for compensation? Hope you can help. Fran.
fran - 2-Mar-17 @ 8:05 PM
A bar has posted cctv footage of me on social media, telling people I have stolen something and asking people to name and shame me in order to win a prize. What do I do?
jfre - 1-Mar-17 @ 8:50 PM
Hi, I received a letter from my ex employer stating that my personal data was copied when their dosimetry service provider had a cyber security attack during routine IT maintenance performed by an IT contractor who violated their IT security policy, they have since terminated their relationship with the contractor. It has been communicated that personal data of mine copied by the cyber attack was my name, DOB and/or National Identity Number (NIN) and Personal Public Service Number (PPSN). Due to the business nature of the service provider who was the target of the cyber attack I also worry that medical records may have been copied due to radiation medicals that I had to complete and feel that they may be withholding this information. I'm currently offshore after recently gaining employment post redundancy for which I had to sell my house and move my wife and kids in with my parents in law. I'm absolutely stressed and at my wit's end thinking about the various ways that I can be targeted by this situation. Will someone attempt Identity theft? Will it effect me getting a mortgage when I can afford it? All of these things are extremely worrying and where I am offshore does not allow me to keep track of normal things due to poor communication with shore. As this dosimetry service provider has admitted guilt, can I claim compensation for the theft of my data and all of the unknowns that are causing me all of this undue stress? It seems to be one thing after another and im the one paying for it all. They have offered free membership to Experian for a year but frankly this is not enough for the upset and absolute violation experienced. Your thoughts and any guidance would be much appreciated. Kind Regards
Offshore Worker - 1-Mar-17 @ 6:29 PM
Disclosure Scotland sent my pvg details to the wrong address,twice! I was stressed over this and it also stalled me starting my job by 3 weeks,they sent sensitive info to someone else
Wb - 1-Mar-17 @ 1:56 AM
munchkin - Your Question:
My ex recieved a letter at my address fron the local council which I passed on when he opened this it contained my bank details regarding my durect debit for my rent agreement, my ex had moved out in 2010? Am I entitled to claim compensation.

Our Response:
You will need to check whether his name is still on the rent agreement or the existing information you gave etc. It doesn't sound like an error that is all of the council's making.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 23-Feb-17 @ 12:35 PM
My ex recieved a letter at my address fron the local council which i passed on when he opened this it contained my bank details regarding my durect debit for my rent agreement, my ex had moved out in 2010? Am i entitled to claim compensation.
munchkin - 22-Feb-17 @ 1:27 PM
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