Case Note 204595 [2009] NZPrivCmr 14: Commissioner sets charge for providing information

A couple approached their accountant and requested copies of their personal information. Some of the information held by the accountant also related to a company run by the couple. The accountant refused to provide any information as the couple allegedly owed him money for services provided. He said he would not provide any information until the couple had paid the debt.The couple complained to us that the accountant’s actions were a breach of principle 6 of the Privacy Act. Principle 6 states that individuals have a right to access their personal information held by an agency. An agency may refuse access requests but only for the reasons set out in sections 27-29 of the Privacy Act. The fact that a bill is unpaid, or money is owed, is not a reason to refuse access to personal information.We explained this to the accountant.

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