Consumer: Data protection officer: Schufa violates data protection regulations

The European data protection organization Noyb has initiated legal action against the credit reporting agency Schufa.

Consumer: Data protection officer: Schufa violates data protection regulations

The European data protection organization Noyb has initiated legal action against the credit reporting agency Schufa. In a complaint to the Hessian data protection officer responsible for Schufa, the association, which is backed by activist Max Schrems, alleges that the company is withholding certain data from consumers when providing free self-disclosure, contrary to the provisions of the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This data would only be made available via a paid “credit report” for just under 30 euros, although consumers would actually have a legal right to a complete free copy.

In the case of the GDPR self-disclosure, known as a “data copy”, Schufa provides a “base score” upon request. In contrast, the paid “credit report” shows a total of six different “industry scores”. Noyb explained that Schufa does not provide a complete copy of the data, as required in Article 15 of the regulation.

The data protection activists are also bothered by the fact that Schufa takes significantly more time to issue the GDPR self-disclosure than it does for the “credit report”. For test orders, the paid “credit report” was in the mailbox after five days. The free self-disclosure, however, only arrived a week later.

Noyb: Those who suffer most are those looking for accommodation

According to Noyb, the people who suffer most from business practices are people looking for accommodation. Schufa makes the free self-disclosure difficult to find in search engines such as Google and instead advertises its paid product with the promise of an “advantage on the housing market”. You will look in vain for a transparent reference to free information in accordance with Article 15 GDPR.

The German Tenants' Association pointed out that many prospective tenants, especially in large and popular cities, were almost forced to provide comprehensive information about themselves. "In order to be able to check the tenant's creditworthiness, landlords often require the presentation of a Schufa report, a self-disclosure and a certificate of freedom from rent debt," said a spokeswoman. Even if the landlord has no right to this, tenants often have no choice but to submit the documents.

Tenants' Association does not want to comment

The tenants' association did not want to comment on Noyb's specific allegations against Schufa. However, he pointed out that landlords are not allowed to request unlimited information. "The tenant is only obliged to answer truthfully to questions that are directly related to the rental agreement."

If the potential landlord inquires about the net income, the employment relationship or the number of household members, the tenant should answer the questions truthfully. Personal questions, for example about religion, an existing illness, preferences and hobbies, party membership or pregnancy, do not have to be answered truthfully. A statement from Schufa was initially not available.

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