What is a SAR – Subject Access Request?
Everyone that lives in the UK has a legal right to make a subject access request or SAR. This is a written request that you can make to your car finance company asking them to tell you about the personal information they have. You can make this request for your details at any time. Previously, you would be charged a fee for making a SAR under the Data Protection Act 1998. But now with the GDPR, you can do this for free and you won’t be charged anything. The GDPR brought in the Data Protection Act 2018 in the UK and from the 25th May 2018, you don’t have to pay anything; it’s your right to make a SAR.
Companies are under an obligation to adhere to your SAR. This includes your car finance company. They have a duty to respond to you within one month of receiving the request and provide you with the details that you have asked for, including your CCA copy and faulty car details. In some circumstances, they can extend the period by two months in order to collect your requests if there are more than one and it’s a bit more complicated. But they still have to tell you within one month of you sending the SAR and ask you for an extension.
Can your car finance company withhold any information from you? This can only happen if the information requested could identify someone else. You can gain access to any information that is concerning you. This includes whether any data is being processed and if it has been given to any other organisations. In addition, you can find out automated decisions you’ve made in the past. However, if your requests are excessive, some companies may be able to deny your request.
How To File A SAR Request?
Making a subject access request doesn’t have to be a long and complicated process. There is no set format you have to follow in order to do it. All you have to do is write a letter to the car finance company or send them an email in your own time. Simply state that you wish them to provide all of the personal information they have about you. Remember that if they try to charge you a fee, you don’t have to pay and you can state the law says it should be provided for free.
Start making your SAR:
- Research online and find the correct department to address the letter or send the email to. This is often found on the car finance company’s website.
- Consider what information you want to receive so you can request it. This will be contained in your SAR in a list format for easy reading.
- Draft your letter in a polite way. You should include your full name, address and telephone number for contacting you at the start like you would with a formal letter. You can also include any account numbers or IDs associated with your car finance company in order for them to find you.
- Mention that there is a one-month deadline for your SAR and clearly state the date you’re sending this request.
Be sure to make your subject access request clear and concise for the receiver. If you’re writing an email, make sure the subject line demonstrates what the message is about so it’s easy to spot. Don’t forget to date your request. This provides certainty for everyone. It’s best to avoid addressing other information in your SAR. For example, if you want to make a complaint to your car finance company, don’t include it in your request. This can get complicated and confusing for everyone. You may also want to be selective on the information that you request. It’ll take the car finance company longer to respond to you and they may request an extension. Always be polite in your SAR too; this can make the company more responsive.
After you have sent away your letter or email, be sure to keep a copy of your request. Hopefully, you won’t need this, but if you do, you’re going to use it as evidence for making a complaint or addressing the missed SAR response.
You may be wondering whether you can make a verbal subject access request. The answer is yes you can. But it’s best to make one in writing, as this creates a record of the request and it can be a lot easier later on. If you do make it verbally, always be clear at what you’re requesting and why you wish to make your information request. But we’d always recommend to follow this conversation up in an email or letter to make sure it goes forward.
Can Someone Make SAR Request?
Can someone make a request on your behalf? Yes, it’s possible that you can authorise someone to submit a SAR for you. It’ll be your choice whether you want this person to know your personal information. For example, you may not be comfortable making the request and would rather a friend do it for you. Perhaps you have a guardian who will take care of it for you. Just make sure that it’s someone you trust to take care of your personal information. But your car finance company will have to be satisfied that you’ve allowed this to happen in the first place. This might require giving evidence such as written authorisation for this person to request your data.