Friday, December 16, 2016

Mail Boxes Etc. UK: Declan writes to the Information Commissioner's Office in a last desperate attempt to try and resolve the issue of our registered office address without a court order (WITH UPDATE 19/12/2016)


Donald A. Collins, President of ISAF, Washington DC

RE: Mail Boxes Etc. (UK) Ltd (MBE)

Complaint about MBE under the Data Protection Act 1998.

To the Information Commissioner's Office:

12 December 2016

Dear Casework Team,

I refer to the below email from Royal Mail in respect of the new postcode on my mailbox which prevents me from receiving mail from Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC). Please note that my problem is not with Royal Mail but with Mail Boxes Etc (UK) Ltd (MBE).

Royal Mail have subsequently made it clear that their hands are tied and that they were merely following instructions on 21 October 2016 when they changed the postcode on the mailbox I rent from MBE Kings Cross from N1 9JY to N1 9FQ. Consequently, HMRC have continued their stop on any correspondence being issued automatically to me because the building number of my mailbox at 254 Pentonville Road does not show on Royal Mail records under postcode N1 9JY.

In response to my letter before claim (please see attachment), MBE changed the address on their website to N1 9FQ. However, this postcode has subsequently been rejected by Companies House because they only accept the postcode N1 9JY for a building name or number on Pentonville Road; the postcode N1 9FQ is unique to the MBE business name. Royal Mail have told me that they would be happy to have 254 Pentonville Road listed on the postcode N1 9JY, but that they must receive this instruction from MBE.

The Retail Ombudsman cannot investigate a business-to-business context. However, this matter is also relevant to the Data Protection Act 1998 as principle 4 states that "personal data shall be accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date". I am considering court action and, given the problems with my mail from HMRC, time is of the essence. By way of alternative dispute resolution, can you still consider my concern as I did not receive a satisfactory response to the issue raised with MBE?

With reference to the below email from Royal Mail, please note that I cannot add my business name to the new MBE address as an alias identifier for the simple reason that N1 9FQ is not recognised by Companies House.

Yours sincerely,

Declan Heavey
Managing Director
Network for Church Monitoring

UPDATE 19 December: Declan sent the email above to the ICO on 12 December. We are waiting to hear back from them. Depending on how HMRC respond to Declan's email to its chief executive on 29 November (see link below), we may not be able to wait much longer without issuing court proceedings against MBE for breach of contract. Currently we are paying for a registered office address with MBE Kings Cross that Companies House will not accept as amended by MBE on 21 October, meaning we cannot register an address for the company with HMRC that HMRC will not render invalid with their "automatic data cleanse" every 6-12 weeks, according to HMRC themselves on 19 October. You couldn't make it up!

29 November: Will it take the Independent Police Complaints Commission to protect our address with HM Revenue and Customs?