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To think I shouldn't have to give personal data to a private company to use my local leisure centre

21 replies

RevoltingPeasant · 02/06/2013 20:00

My local council leisure facilities - pool etc - are run by a private company. They actually do a really good job and I'm aware I'm lucky, as they're easily the best public facilities I've seen in England.

But...the people who run it say you have to sign up for a pass before you can use it. This is not a membership as you can simply pay to use the facilities on a one off or as and when basis. Getting the pass involves giving them personal info like mob no, street address, date of birth, no of children in your household - etc etc - which is basically marketing info. You then have to present the pass every time you go in addition to paying. They can be very pushy about it too; I forgot my pass this weekend and the guy made me give him my surname and postcode!

I mean, really? To go for a swim in the council pool? Hmm

Only you don't, really, need one. Because if you press them, they admit you don't absolutely need one. And people from out of area can pay to use the facilities, no problem. I strongly suspect that this company is analysing usage patterns and selling the data on.

I'm really not sure how I feel about this - half of me can't be arsed, but then I don't think people should have to fork over data just to do lengths, when we are paying! Aibu or should I shrug and hand them my pass and ignore the spam?

OP posts:

LineRunner · 02/06/2013 20:04

I can understand them collecting data such as postcodes and ages of users because I expect the council is wondering about whether they can still afford to run the place and has asked the contractor to present a business case?

But the amount of data being collected seems a tad excessive.

Do you get a discount for having a 'local' pass?


PinkPepper · 02/06/2013 20:04

Do they get some extra funding from the council maybe for providing service to local residents and need to prove this?


Elquota · 02/06/2013 20:04


Email the council and complain that you're being excluded from the facilities as you're not willing to provide all those personal details.


RevoltingPeasant · 02/06/2013 20:13

No, no discount! I asked the guy who was being pushy and he said "oh you get benefits, points and so on."

I said but we're not members, how does that work?!

He said "it's like being on Facebook, you get benefits even if you're not a member" Confused this made absolutely no sense to me but I couldn't be arsed to argue by that point.

I might ask to speak to a manager and ask for confirmation of what they do with the info. Nicely! If it is for making a case to retain the facilities then okay, but if they are making a fast buck by selling it on then it's a real abuse IMO.

OP posts:

LineRunner · 02/06/2013 20:22

If it is for making a case to retain the facilities then okay, but if they are making a fast buck by selling it on then it's a real abuse IMO.

I definitely agree with this.

Councils subsidise pools massively (it's the heating costs apparently) and 'User Power' to keep them open has got to be a good thing as the cuts start to bite.

But if their contractors are selling data surreptitiously then they can F.O.


CabbageLeaves · 02/06/2013 20:30

Data Protection act stuff

Before handing over any data you should be advised why it is required, how it will be stored and who they will be sharing it with


quietbatperson · 02/06/2013 20:33

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HollyBerryBush · 02/06/2013 20:34

Is this really any different to a shop like Matalan, where you have to have a membership (also free) and show your card at the till?


deleted203 · 02/06/2013 20:36

I'd be tempted to just fill in a load of bollocks, TBH.


RevoltingPeasant · 02/06/2013 20:37

Cabbage - ooh that is helpful. I stupidly handed the info over after being asked if I had a xxxx card every time I went for yonks. It doesn't help that we swim at before 7am so you just get a bit befuzzled and take the line of least resistance!

I will politely ask to speak to a manager and ask what they do with the data, as I get odd leisure related marketing calls these days and also whether having a pass is a requirement.

OP posts:

RevoltingPeasant · 02/06/2013 20:39

Holly it is different IMO as it's a public facility. I can choose to shop somewhere different than matalan, which I guess is like a private members' club. But I don't think taxpayer funded services like parks, libraries etc are the same.

OP posts:

CabbageLeaves · 02/06/2013 20:40

Read this bit in particular....

What are the conditions for processing?
The conditions for processing are set out in Schedules 2 and 3 to the Data Protection Act. Unless a relevant exemption applies, at least one of the following conditions must be met whenever you process personal data:

The individual who the personal data is about has consented to the processing.
The processing is necessary:

  • in relation to a contract which the individual has entered into; or
  • because the individual has asked for something to be done so they can enter into a contract.

The processing is necessary because of a legal obligation that applies to you (except an obligation imposed by a contract).
The processing is necessary to protect the individual?s ?vital interests?. This condition only applies in cases of life or death, such as where an individual?s medical history is disclosed to a hospital?s A&E department treating them after a serious road accident.
The processing is necessary for administering justice, or for exercising statutory, governmental, or other public functions.
The processing is in accordance with the ?legitimate interests? condition.

CabbageLeaves · 02/06/2013 20:42

Giving consent does not mean saying er yes if I must. It means being given information about how data will be used and stored and then agreeing


RevoltingPeasant · 02/06/2013 20:47

Interesting ... They deffo did not do all that. I asked explicitly once if we had to and the guy said "they like you to have one" and implied we couldn't go on without.

This is what makes me think it's dodge as if it were about making a case for usage they'd surely just say so, as what regular user wouldn't want to help with that?

OP posts:

Allegrogirl · 02/06/2013 20:57

We have this with our leisure facilities. I do get lots of e-mails trying to get me to join for monthly membership. On the plus side we get the occasional free swim for me and DH e-mailed to me. I do object to having to sign up and carry a card for occasional use of the centre.

None of our 4 cards ever work to get through the barriers so we are always holding everyone up. I hate that I am supposed to show my card and two year old's card when we take the 5 year old for swimming lessons just to get in the building.

I'm wondering if we go to the same place. Is diving and big deal at your leisure centre OP?


RevoltingPeasant · 02/06/2013 21:00

Yes :) no big mystery - it's the Life Centre in Plymouth. Interesting to know others feel the same! We get spammed by joining offers but never free swims.

OP posts:

Allegrogirl · 02/06/2013 21:03

I think we have had 3 free activities for 2 adults since the place opened. I don't really like the pool much for the DCs. Great facilities for them as they get older though.

Still missing Pavilions.


Karoleann · 02/06/2013 21:14

I anyone asks for my mobile - I just say sorry, I don't give it out.
If its an online and obligatory of just put 07900000000.
Or just put n/a.

I really dislike giving out personal details.


Jan49 · 02/06/2013 23:21

I sometimes accidently "make mistakes" when asked for my personal details so that I don't give away information to people who don't actually need it.


StuntGirl · 02/06/2013 23:50

We ask for several pieces of information for customers who sign up to our points cards. I'm always amazed that people so freely hand it out, they can decline to give a lot of the info!


Mrsdavidcaruso · 02/06/2013 23:54

I refuse to give my DOB to anyone other then people who have the legal right to it.

I have 2 answers for anyone else who asks it depending on the reason for them wanting it.

  1. We need it for security and it's a number that you will remember

I always say 01/01/01 well it is a DOB and one I will remember

2 We need it to make sure we can offer you tailor made goods and services.

I ask them what is the difference between the services and goods you will offer 2 30 year olds one born 1st Jan 1983 and the other born 1st Feb 1983 the answer of course is NOTHING so you just need to know my age range for that don't you not my DOB.

My Boots card and my Tesco card do NOT have my DOB on them although i believe they did ask when I joined.
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