TigerDirect does business in Ontario both through a retail outlet located in Markham as well as through online sales through TigerDirect.ca. Like other major retailers, TigerDirect advertises prices for some of its products that include the deduction of mail in rebates. However, TigerDirect utilizes a company called OnRebate, located in Florida, to process some or all of its rebates. OnRebate, as a condition of processing a rebate, requires TigerDirect customers to provide a verifiable e-mail address. Also, such customers must consent to receiving OnRebate’s newsletters and promotional material sent by or on behalf of its other third party customers. Canadian privacy legislation requires businesses doing business in Canada to only collect personal information to the extent required in order to provide a particular service. Why is an email address required in order to process rebates when the entire process is typically performed by mail? Is the rebate amount actually a true deduction from the purchase price of an item if the consumer must also provide an email address and consent to receive marketing materials (which both likely constitute additional consideration)? Hopefully TigerDirect has contractually obligated OnRebate to otherwise comply with Canadian privacy law requirements when performing services on behalf of TigerDirect in respect of Canadian customers.
2006-04-04 Follow up: Its been about 3 weeks and I’ve received email confirmation from OnRebate that they’ve “accepted” my rebate application. However, they advise that my cheque should be arriving in 10-12 weeks. Another 2.5 to 3 months. Meanwhile, they took the opportunity (in their notification email) to spam me with advertisements for TigerDirect even though I had specifically advised them that I did not want them using my email for any purpose unrelated to the processing of my rebate application.