The antitrust watchdog said Monday it has fined retail giant Homeplus and its affiliate Homeplus Tesco for providing local insurers with the personal information of applicants for giveaway events.
The 435 million won ($404,500) fine was slapped on the retailers after they collected information on customers between August 2011 and June 2014, the Fair Trade Commission said.
Homeplus, which has more than 21,000 employees, was ordered to pay 325 million won, while 110 million won in fines was levied on Homeplus Tesco. The two companies are controlled by Tesco PLC, a Britain-based grocery and merchandise store.
The FTC said the companies either failed to notify or did not take proper measures to clearly tell customers that by applying for giveaways, the information they were providing could be passed on to insurance companies.
"There was no or little clear notice on ads, Internet homepage sites or receipts that taking part in gift sweepstakes events could result in personal information being shared," it said.
On the other hand, the two retailers made clear that people must provide their date of birth and mobile phone numbers if they wanted to take part in the giveaways, misleading people to think that they were just taking part in a giveaway, the FTC said.
Such a practice violated the country's personal information protection act, as well as rules prohibiting companies from using ads to provide false or misleading information that can distort fair trade, it said.
The fines are designed to send a message to companies that such unlawful actions will not be tolerated and that companies must take the issue of protecting personal information more seriously, the watchdog said. (Yonhap)