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Ask Ash Your Own Question

Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10914
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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We have a small stained glass conservation business and

Customer Question

We have a small stained glass conservation business and undertake work for the National Trust as well as other clients. Every year they ask us for information about current insurances so we can remain on the database. After a bad experience of working for the Trust we were in two minds about remaining on the database so when the request for confirmation of insurance came this time I raised several questions ' before deciding what to do'. The Trust then approached our broker direct, without asking our permission, requesting they provide this information to them. unfortunately our broker, who is used to such requests, provided it without questioning, but copied us in on his response to the Trust.
Is it legal for the Trust to ask an insurance broker for a client's insurance details without reference to/permission of the client?
If not, what can I do or say to the Trust about this?
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 4 months ago.

Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.

On what basis did they refuse to go through you and go direct please?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
They write to us requesting renewal details. I had queries relating to others working for the Trust who do not carry as much PI as us. We are disadvantaged because we are carrying these levels of insurance that are not required by other clients. We are aware that this is the case, so I responded to the request for information with my queries. She then asked our broker without reference to us to divulge our insurance details. He did. He has acknowledged he should have checked that he had our permission, apologised and recalled the e mail. My issue is principally with the Trust, for requesting commercial information about us without our permission.
Expert:  Ash replied 4 months ago.

Thanks - its bad news I am afraid. If you had been a consumer then it may well have been a breach of the Data Protection Act. But as you are a business this does not have the same rights. Indeed therefore you have no course of action in relation to that. But unless there is anything to the contrary in writing then generally you wouldnt be able to do anything as this is a business to business contract and in law you would have no case, save for Data Protection if applicable (which it isnt) or any contractual right.

I am sorry if this is not the answer you want and certainly not the one I want to give you, but I have a duty to be honest.

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
I just don't see how this can be right. What you are saying is that any business can demand from another business any information. I understand about account information which is held by Companies House but this is different.
To be clear: are you saying that the National Trust have a right to demand it, (even though we are not in any contractual relationship with the Trust at the moment, (and don't intend if you are correct ever to undertake further work for them) and that the broker has a duty to provide it, irrespective of the fact that we are their client? The broker has apologised, which suggests that he is in the wrong.
As for the Data Protection Act, the National TRust have replied to my enquiry of numbers of conservators in our specialism holding 1M PI that they can't divulge it because of Data Protection. Their response seems to be at odds with your reply to me.
Expert:  Ash replied 4 months ago.

They don't have a right. But you don't have a cause of action against them in law. If you did it would be under something like the data protection act.

But that applies to consumers. Does that clarify?

That only applies to consumers, not a business.


Customer: replied 4 months ago.
for the avoidance of doubt,
the National Trust did not have the right to request information from our insurance brokers without our consent or knowledge?
Does that mean it was illegal of them to ask?
Our brokers had a duty of care to us as their client to check that permission was in place before supplying this information?If small businesses are not covered by the Data Protection ACt, why did the National Trust cite the act as a reason for not supplying me with statistical information on their database of conservators (this was not a request for information about individuals or companies). Moreover, there is a disclaimer on both NT and the brokers e mails which refers to Data Protection. This doesn't square with your saying we are not protected.
I don't feel that your answer to date has addressed what was really a simple series of questions, and so has generated further questions. I would like to make a complaint to the Trust about their behaviour, but need to be clear on what grounds, which is why I first sought clarity from 'Just Answer' as a friend recommended your service.
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
I should add that I looked at the refund position, which said I should contact my expert first, which is what I have just done.
Just so we are clear about that too.
Expert:  Ash replied 4 months ago.

Perhaps you can list and number each question you would like an answer to and I can respond to each one. That way we both know what you are asking and want answers to

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
There are three clear questions in my last message. I don't feel we are getting anywhere with this, and I am very busy.
Perhaps my friend's situation was easier to answer than this is. So, I will ask for a refund and ask elsewhere. .

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