by Leonard A. Bellavia, Esq.

The Model Privacy Notice offers a “safe harbor” for the disclosure requirements triggered when businesses collect non-public information from customers as mandated by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (“GLBA”).  Many businesses may still use earlier Privacy Notices.  If your business has not switched to the updated Model Privacy Notice, now is the time to do so.

The new Model Privacy Notice differs from the old Notice in several ways.  Notably, the new Model Privacy Notice can be customized to address the various ways businesses collect and share non-public personal information.  The FTC & FRB posted six model forms, each which varies in language and disclosure requirements depending on business practices.  You can create your own form, or use the online form builder on the FRB’s website.  Using the online form builder is recommended because the forms contain the proper language, in the proper format, to qualify under GLBA’s safe harbor.  If you chose to draft your own forms, please keep in mind that, for the Model Privacy Notice to comply with the law, it must contain the required disclosure, in an easy to read format, with particular font size requirements.

The law requires that customers receive privacy notices in a format they may keep when the business first obtains non-public personal information related their inquiry about obtaining credit.  This occurs, for example, when a customer completes a credit application to apply for financing.  Customers typically provide non-public personal information, such as social security numbers, on credit applications.  You are not obligated to keep a signed copy of the Model Privacy Notice, but doing so can help prove your company’s compliance with the law should questions arise.  As a best practice, you should give a copy of a Model Privacy Notice specific to your business when a customer provides your staff non-public personal information, regardless of whether the customer eventually purchases a vessel, trailer or other product.

Because your business activity may warranty different levels of disclosure on the Model Privacy Form, we recommend that you contact us to help tailor the Model Privacy Form to fit the ways you use customers’ non-public personal information.

We can review these forms for you to determine whether they offer the proper disclosure to keep your business compliant with current law. Please call us at 631-224-7000 if you have any questions about The Model Privacy Notice or any other disclosure requirements.