The Information Commissioner's Office has investigated a mis-use of prospective customers' personal data involving luxury car dealer group HR Owen and Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.
The ICO noted in correspondence to Rolls-Royce that HR Owen's Rolls-Royce dealership in London had used the personal details of prospective customers without their knowledge.
HR Owen told The Mirror newspaper: “Rolls-Royce Motor Cars did make us aware of a customer data issue and contact with the ICO about earlier this year. In conjunction with Rolls-Royce Motor Cars we swiftly implemented changes to our way of working, in response to this issue.
The luxury car dealer group said its vehicle sales are rigorously audited each year, and the process of recording sales in its accounts is clear and thorough. It added: "HR Owen does not falsify vehicle sales.”
The ICO spokesperson told AM: “We recently made enquiries into a reported data breach involving Rolls-Royce and the car dealership HR Owen.
“We are concerned it was possible for HR Owen to repeatedly record false sales by amending the buyer’s details to reflect the eventual purchaser without this activity being stopped by Rolls-Royce.”
“Before deciding whether further action was required we considered a number of factors including the nature of the breach and the remedial action taken by Rolls-Royce following the incident. After considering all of these issues we decided that no further action was required on this occasion.
“We will keep a record of the incident and may revisit it again if similar compliance issues come to our attention.”
AM asked the Rolls-Royce Motor Cars press office whether, and how, it can be confident that its dealer registration targets and incentives are achieved legitimately. It has so far declined to respond.
We also asked the press office whether the people whose data was involved have been informed of such. Again it has not yet responded.
Rolls-Royce and HR Owen have since changed the way sales information is collated. Rolls-Royce told the ICO it had provided HR Owen with training over its customer relations management system used to record sales.
The ICO added: “Rolls-Royce has been in contact with HR Owen over the sales involved and has been assured that all customer details have been updated appropriately to reflect the eventual purchasers of the vehicles.”