One of my pet hates has always been fine print. The reason is simple: companies always choose to hide unpalatable aspects of their relationship with their clients in it – presumably as an attempt to keep it from notice until it’s needed to wriggle out of paying for something. Well now I’ve found a new, possibly even more nefarious use for fine print.

I’ve just moved over to a new medical scam – err, scheme. And while filling in the application for chronic medication, I came across this gem (company name deleted to prevent me being sued for libel or worse):

By signing this, I also give my consent that XXXXXXXX may, from time to time, disclose any information supplied to them – including general or medical information – to my appointed financial adviser or any other third party. I agree that XXXXXXXX may disclose this information at its sole discretion, but only as long as all the parties involved have agreed to keep the information confidential at all times.

Nice. As I interpret this, and since I can’t submit the application form without signing it, by so doing the scheming bastards are automatically entitled to sell my private medical information on to third parties. That sucks; Even if there are privacy laws in this country that protect consumers from this sort of exploitation, it sucks because enforcing such laws costs money.

I have lodged a complaint with someone I know at the relevant company. Let’s see what happens. I’m not holding my breath.

UPDATE: Turns out a friend’s wife happens to hold a senior position at the company concerned (she’s a physician not a bean counter) and she has informed problem was picked up and the form changed. So I duly went to the web site to download the latest version of the form: it’s identical.

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