If a real business broker uses databases such as RP Data or PDS Live, can they use that information (which is publicly available) for marketing purposes?
The short answer is “no”.
Generally, the terms and conditions of such databases make it clear that a user must not use the data for direct marketing or in breach of privacy laws. They may simply state that a user will not use the information obtained “for or in connection with any direct marketing activities”.
Some business brokers selling freehold as part of a business are under the impression that it is acceptable to send marketing material to property owners provided that it is addressed to “the property owner” rather than the actual name of the owner.
Presumably, such business brokers think that it would be difficult (if not impossible) for a property owner to prove that they had used search results as there is no personal information contained in the marketing material. Importantly however, if the database information was used for the material (i.e. to uncover the name and address of the owner), it is still a breach even if the name of the owner is not used.
Does the Privacy Act Apply?
If the information was obtained through a third party (e.g. RP Data), then the Privacy Act should not apply. In any event, as long as the material did not contain any personal information, then it would not be in breach of the legislation.
The information provided by Kafrouni Lawyers is intended to provide general information and is not legal advice or a substitute for it. Small business people should always consult their own legal advisors to discuss their particular circumstances. Kafrouni Lawyers makes no warranties or representations regarding the information and exclude any liability which may arise as a result of the use of this information. This information is the copyright of Kafrouni Lawyers.
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