This all started, innocently, yesterday as I was going through some online accounts that I have registered to an old email address.

I bought my wife some Jo Malone perfume last year, I think, and, as a result, I now have an account on their site. But, and unfortunately they’re not the only site to do this, they don’t provide a way for you to change your email.

So I decide to contact them (it’s not urgent) via their site. But there’s an immediate issue. Natrually, you have to provide them with an email – it’s not optional but, then again, they need it to contact you back. Except, at the bottom of the screen, is a tick box that reads as follows…

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YES! By submitting your e-mail address you agree to receive marketing e-mail communications from Jo Malone London Online.

To me that suggests that it must be agreed upon. However, later testing showed this isn’t the case – hmm, seems a rather deceptive tactic to me. Unfortunately, this was after the event and, initially, I ticked it. Almost immediately I received a marketing email with no option to unsubscribe. Now, it may be that you can normally do this via your account but I had to use my new, valid email address which doesn’t have an account assigned to – how do I now stop recieving these emails?

After a few hours I got a reply from Jo Malone about changing my email address…

I am sorry to say that due to data protection laws we are unable to amend anything on our customers’ accounts.

I have had a look on our website and unfortunately we have no option to amend email addresses on accounts.

I apologise for any inconvenience caused by this, I can advise you that if you want to change the email address on your account unfortunately you will have to create a new account.

What a load of BS. The Data Protection Act does NOT prevent you from changing customer records at their request – indeed, many other companies have done this for me without issue. I replied back, challenging them on this and, although they've replied, they have not been able to tell me where within the DPA this is specified.

Well, if a company isn’t going to make something as simple as an email address change easy, then I resort to the ‘delete my account’ option. After some discussion via email, which included one customer service agent apologising for the previous one (?), they agreed to delete my account. However, this only came after I reminded them of their own DPA responsibility (hint – they have to do this if I request it).

Let’s be honest here – the DPA is either being used as a cowardly excuse for the fact that something as simple as an email address change isn’t possible on their website or the fact that the company has no idea what the DPA is about. Be honest Jo Malone and except you’re not perfect.

For now they've removed my account, although they've said this will take up to 72 hours (not sure why) and I'm also concerned about the marketing mails I've signed up for but, without an account for that email, have no way of preventing. Time will tell and I'll be sure to update this post if anything interesting happens with either of these.

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