Withdrawn: Virgin Games refuses to discuss player complaints.

maxd

Complaints (PAB) Manager
Staff member
Joined
Jan 20, 2004
Location
Saltirelandia
In attempting to process a recent PAB regarding Virgin Games (virgingames.com) we were told the following:

Due to the data protection act we are unable to discuss any member account with a 3rd party.

Of course this is a fundamental misunderstanding of the Data Protection Act (DPA). Ico.or.uk has a page devoted to exactly this, see their
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page wherein they say:

The Act does not prevent an individual making a subject access request via a third party. Often, this will be a solicitor acting on behalf of a client, but it could simply be that an individual feels comfortable allowing someone else to act for them. In these cases, you need to be satisfied that the third party making the request is entitled to act on behalf of the individual, but it is the third party’s responsibility to provide evidence of this entitlement. This might be a written authority to make the request or it might be a more general power of attorney.

We routinely offer to have players provide such written authority but casino people are seldom interested, they're typically fully committed to their own interpretation of the DPA and impervious to all attempts to persuade them otherwise.

Be Aware: Virgin Games is misreading and/or abusing the Data Protection Act and using this flawed reading of the DPA as justification for their refusal to discuss player issues. At this time players with complaints regarding Virgin Games have no choice but to follow the complaints procedure specified by Virgin in their Terms.
 

maxd

Complaints (PAB) Manager
Staff member
Joined
Jan 20, 2004
Location
Saltirelandia
In a totally unexpected development the Virgin people appear to be willing to amend their previous position on using the DPA to refuse to discuss player issues:

Whilst you are correct about the advice given by the ICO, in the very same section you can see an example whereby it states we would not be obliged to share this information with a third-party, and that it is not unreasonable not to do so.

We apologise if this is not the response that you were hoping for, but we are not willing to discuss the accounts of our members with any third-party without official and formal permission to do so.

What form that "official and formal permission" can take is TBD at the moment but nevertheless this is a big step in the right direction on Virgin's part. I'm trying to work out the details but kudos to them for being reasonable about taking a second look at their interpretation of the DPA.

As to "we would not be obliged" to discuss a player issue with a third party they are 100% correct. But that was never in question. The question was and is will they discuss the player's issue when the player has specifically requested they do so? If yes, then great, and we do what we need to proceed. If not then why not? The player wants it, there is no legal impediment to doing it so ...?

This, of course, is exactly the issue we have been fighting with for years, particularly with the larger casino groups who generally want to close doors to anyone and everyone that doesn't suit them. The problem is that there is no reasonable justification for doing so. We are certified arbitrators. The player has specifically requested that they be represented by us. The DPA is no restriction to proceeding nor is any licensing jurisdiction. So what's the problem?

More news here as this situation develops.
 

maxd

Complaints (PAB) Manager
Staff member
Joined
Jan 20, 2004
Location
Saltirelandia
Ok, quick update on this: apparently they're willing to discuss complaints if we apply with some paperwork on the case, etc and -- here's the kicker:
... you will receive a direct response within 28 days to confirm if we are satisfied with the information provided under the Data Protection Act 1998 and whether we will allow you ... to proceed with this complaint on the player's behalf.

Apparently it's a process we'll have to go through on every complaint, regardless of whether we've done so before. In other words, hurry up and wait. :rolleyes:

But hey, at least it's something: I reckon it's as good a time as any to give it a shot.
 

maxd

Complaints (PAB) Manager
Staff member
Joined
Jan 20, 2004
Location
Saltirelandia
Just a footnote here before I withdraw this: the player involved threw in the towel on their case after their deposits had been returned. As such there was nothing to pursue with the casino.

I'd say it's unfortunate that Virgin has taken the laborious formal route to dealing with player issues -- "submit your DPA information request and we'll get back to you (maybe) in 28 days" -- but it is what it is.
 
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