The random thoughts of a sceptical activist

Procedure? What procedure? And more backlash!

Last week, I received a letter from the GCC:

I am writing in relation to the complaints you have submitted.

Under the provisions of the General Chiropractic Council (Investigating Committee) Rules 2000 (“the Rules”), the Committee is required to invite you to make a statement of evidence in relation to your complaints by way of statutory declaration or affidavit. If you wish to, you can discuss your complaints with a solicitor who acts on behalf of the Committee who could help you draft a statement of evidence that meets the requirements of the Rules. The General Chiropractic Council will pay for the Investigating Committee solicitor’s costs and will reimburse you for any fee you subsequently pay for having your witness statement sworn at a location convenient to you.

If you would like to discuss your complaints with the Investigating Committee’s solicitor, please confirm this in writing. We will then pass your details to the solicitor who will contact you directly to make the appropriate arrangements. We have enclosed a pre-paid envelope for your use.

It is of course open to you to tell us that you want us to proceed on the basis of your letter of complaint, together with the supporting documentation you have submitted. We could notify the chiropractors of your complaint using the correspondence you have submitted to date. If you would like us to do this, please do confirm this in writing.

Should you have any questions, or require any additional information, do please contact me.

I responded to this and complained about the events I blogged about in my Quacklash Backlash! post as well as some other things that happened this last week.

Thank you for your letter dated 19 June 2009.

At present, I see no reason nor advantage in discussing my complaints with the Investigating Committee’s solicitor.

I note you state:

“It is of course open to you to tell us that you want us to proceed on the basis of your letter of complaint, together with the supporting documentation you have submitted. We could notify the chiropractors of your complaint using the correspondence you have submitted to date. If you would like us to do this, please do confirm this in writing.”

I confirm that I would like you to proceed with the complaints on the basis of the information I have submitted to date.

However, I am disappointed to note that, despite asking me in this letter, you seem to have already sent out some or all of the complaints to your members. I would be grateful if you could confirm that you have done this, explain why this was done and what procedure you are following.

On Saturday 20 June, I received emails from several websites asking me to confirm that I wanted to subscribe to those websites or confirming that I would be receiving various catalogues. Those websites were:

1. www.catalink.co.uk (“Catalogues | Mail Order Catalogues | Free Catalogues from Catalink”)
2. www.kink.com (“Kink.com delivers the absolute best in adult fetish entertainment”)
3. www.metacafe.com (“Metacafe – Video Entertainment – Movies, TV, Music & Sports”)
4. www.fiftyplus.co.uk (“Fifty Plus | The clothes catalogue with fabulous ladies clothes, lingerie and footwear to suit your lifestyle | Fifty Plus – Fifty Plus”)
5. www.bnp.org.uk (The British National Party)
6. www.grattan.co.uk (“Grattan – womens fashion mens kids and sports clothing”)
7. www.mindtools.com (“Mind Tools – Management Training, Leadership Training and Career Training – Right Here, Right Now.”)

At Catalink, I was signed up to receive cataloguesand other items from the following retailers:

1. Gift voucher for LOVEFiLM
2. Chelsea Football Club – Mail Order Catalogue
3. Cicerone Press – Guide Books Catalogue
4. The Book People Catalogue
5. Red House Catalogue
6. AmpleBosom Catalogue
7. Bath Knight – The Shower Range Catalogue
8. Cosyfeet eNewsletter
9. Burns Pet Nutrition Catalogue
10. Emma Bridgewater Catalogue
11. Bump to 3 Catalogue
12. Big and Tall Menswear Catalogue
13. Human Kinetics Catalogue
14. Help the Aged Catalogue
15. Magic Moments Sex Toys and Lingerie Catalogue
16. Maxhim Catalogue
17. Passion8 Catalogue
18. Pabo.com Catalogue

During the week, I received a package from Burns Pet Nutrition of Kidwelly, Carmarthenshire, Wales, which included a catalogue as well as sample packets of cat and dog food.

I have also received a letter from Littlewoods Direct, telling me that an online credit application had been declined. I have never applied to them for credit. I contacted them and they told me that they had refused credit because the date of birth and other personal details did not match other records. The date of birth given in the application was 11 September 1949. It would seem likely that this was done by the same individual as had signed me up to the above websites.

All these websites have data that can be used to identify the individual or individuals concerned. I can forward on all the relevant emails, the letter and package to you if required.

All these were signed up using my name, home address and the unique email address xxx@xxxxxxxxxxxxx.

The only place I have used that email address was on my complaint letter to you.

It would appear that either my details were used by someone at the GCC, or it was one of your members after having received the complaint letter from you. I am disappointed that one of your members might have done this, particularly since, before admitting anyone to the register, you are legally obliged to check that they are of ‘good character’.

These are serious and distressing invasions of my privacy and are wholly unacceptable. It is also unprofessional and possibly a breach of the Data Protection Act. I would be grateful if you would confirm what actions you propose to take to investigate and uncover the person or persons responsible. If you fail to take sufficient and timeous action, I will take advice from my solicitor.

All pretty much self-explanatory. I await their response.

12 Responses to Procedure? What procedure? And more backlash!

  • That's pretty low behaviour on behalf of someone at GCC (or associated).

    Throw the book at them.

  • What a bunch of idiots – yes, throw the book at them :-|

  • Ouch. If it's someone at the GCC, they will lose their job.

    Is there a "proper" criminal offense anywhere in here? Do you need to talk to the police?

  • I think that this could fall under the protection from harassment legislation.

    http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/h_to_k/harrasment/

  • It's an incredible way for someone who is presumably either a medical professional (or a member of a regulatory body for medical professionals) to behave. How can these people possibly expect to be taken seriously if this is the way they respond to criticism of their making unsubstantiated claims?

  • I'm sorry to hear that someone abused our email signup procedure to sign you up to MindTools.com. This is why we operate a confirmed opt-in signup process – you won't hear anything else from us unless you click on the confirmation link within the email you received from us.

    Best wishes with resolving this.

    James Manktelow, MindTools.com.

  • I would suggest that if you do not get a satisfactory response you take this up with the HPC.

    This looks like a profession in complete free fall and it is desperate need of rescuing from itself.

  • James

    Thanks for responding. If only other websites were as concerned about their customers!

  • I think you shoukd have accepted their offer of legal help. The fees would have bankrupted the GCC with that number of complaints.

  • Yes – I'm sure they have breached the Data Protection Act. Hit them hard.

  • I am sure that Littlewoods Direct would have an IP address logged for the user. If you wrote to them and explained what happened then you might be able to track down the perp.

  • Le Canard Noir

    Littelwoods Direct certainly do have the IP address of the perp, which is traceable to the ISP and to the account holder…

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