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Schufa logo: How much transparency is mandatory?

Photo: Andreas Arnold / dpa

The credit reporting agency Schufa is threatened with new legal trouble: the data protection organization Noyb has initiated legal action against the company.

In a complaint to the Hessian data protection officer responsible for Schufa, the association accuses Schufa of withholding certain data from consumers when providing free self-disclosure. According to the association, Schufa is thereby violating the provisions of the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The data would only be made available via a paid “credit report” for just under 30 euros, although consumers actually have a legal right to a complete free copy. Schufa rejected the allegations.

In the case of the GDPR self-disclosure, known as a “data copy”, Schufa will provide 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 activist Max Schrems is behind the association.

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.

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 of the General Data Protection Regulation.

Schufa rejects criticism

Schufa explained that the data copy not only provides the legally required information, but even goes beyond that. Although there is currently no legal obligation, scores are made available because they want to offer consumers more transparency. The scores in the “credit rating” are calculated individually and are used to personally assess your creditworthiness. »The values ​​are calculated as part of the ordering of the product for the person making the request and are not saved. If scores for companies have been calculated and submitted within the past 12 months, they will be shown on the free data copy.«

Schufa also rejected the accusation that the data copy according to Article 15 GDPR would be made available later as paid information products. The processing time for the free data copy is on average between four and seven days - depending on the volume of the request. In addition, in some cases a more precise identity check may be required, which takes more time. »We prepare the information within the statutory deadline, which is a maximum of one month.«

mic/dpa AFX