Costco Wholesale Corporation
Privacy Policy

(Australia)

This privacy policy outlines how Costco Wholesale Australia, Pty Limited (Costco) protects and handles your personal membership-related information in accordance with the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (Privacy Act), including the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs).

Costco's Commitment to Privacy

We respect your right to privacy. We do not sell or rent your personal information. We do not, share or disclose it to third parties without your prior consent, except in the circumstances described in this privacy policy. In addition, your ability to make informed choices about the disclosure and uses of your personal information is important to us. This privacy policy explains our practices regarding the collection, use, disclosure (including overseas disclosure), protection, access and correction of your personal information. The links below provide detailed information about our privacy practices:

  1. What is Personal Information?
  2. Collection of Personal Information
  3. Use of Personal Information by Costco
  4. Sharing of Personal Information
    1. General
    2. Members’ personal information
      1. Order Fulfillment
      2. Member Services
      3. Our Contractors
      4. Primary Account Holder
      5. Costco Family of Companies
    3. Disclosure of personal information in the cloud or overseas
  5. Other Uses and Disclosures
  6. Protection of Personal and Credit Card Information
  7. Choice, Opting-out
  8. Health Care Centres
    1. Health Care Centres
  9. Online Specifics
    1. Online Information Gathering and Use
    2. Links to Other Web Sites
  10. Use of the Costco.com.au Site by Children
  11. Access to and Correction of Personal Information, Questions or Concerns
  12. Changes to this privacy policy

A. What is Personal Information?

Personal information is information or an opinion about an identified individual or a reasonably identifiable individual. In this connection “opinion” means information not of a strictly formal nature that we may collect in connection with your membership—for example, records of your membership-related inquiries.

Sensitive information is a subset of personal information, and includes information about your health. The Privacy Act imposes special obligations on the collection, use and disclosure of sensitive information.

B. Collection of Personal Information

Type of personal information

The personal information we collect and hold is what is reasonably necessary for our business functions and activities. The personal information we collect may include:

  • contact information - name, address, telephone number and email address;
  • gender;
  • date of birth;
  • your organisation details;
  • member identification information, enquiry details, communications, and interactions with us;
  • Internet (IP) address;
  • information about purchases and online shopping; and
  • information about your health (for example, through our hearing aid or optical centers).

How personal information is collected

We collect personal information that you provide us directly, including when you:

  • sign up for or renew your Costco membership including online;
  • sign up for news or notifications of specials or other promotions on costco.com.au;
  • purchase products or services;
  • contact us for any reason;
  • participate in a survey or promotion;
  • sign up for or participate in our various Member Services (see Member Services below);.

We may automatically collect some information when you visit our website, such as your computer's IP address and operating system details, the site from which you linked to us, your site activity, the time and date of your visit, and any purchases. This information may be collected through the use of "cookies" and web beacons (see Online Specifics below).

We also obtain information from third parties including those who help us correct our records, prevent fraud, and provide Member Services or special promotions or products (see Member Services below). We may combine any of this information with the other personal information we maintain about you.

Where you provide us with personal information about someone else you must have their consent to provide their personal information to us based on this privacy policy.

Collection of sensitive information

We will not collect sensitive information about you unless you consent (we take your provision of the information to be consent to its collection), and the information is reasonably necessary for one or more of our functions or activities. If we collect any sensitive personal information about you, that information will only be used and disclosed by us for the purpose that it was provided by you.

C. Use of Personal Information by Costco

The personal information we collect is generally used to:

  • sell and promote our goods and services to you;
  • process your requests, transactions, complaints or enquiries;
  • provide you with high-quality service, tell you about opportunities we think will be of interest; and
  • administer your account, including distribution of our own surveys and publications. For example, we may:
    • alert you about product recalls or safety issues
    • communicate membership opportunities and programs; and
    • provide you with promotional information, such as coupons, offers and product recommendations, or information about Member Services ("Promotional Information"). If you prefer not to receive Promotional Information from us, we make it easy for you to let us know. You may contact us at any time to decline Promotional Information (see Choice below); and
    • deal with you in relation to the purchase of goods and services or other business transactions.

We may not be able to do these things without your personal information. For example, we may not be able to provide you with our services or communicate with you.

D. Sharing of Personal Information

1. General

We may share your personal information for the purpose for which it was collected.

We may share your personal information with:

  • related entities;
  • external service providers such as IT providers (on a confidential basis and such service providers will be limited in their use of your information to the purpose of the relevant company’s activities only); and
  • specialist advisers to Costco

Subject to the requirements of the Privacy Act, we may also share it for another purpose if you would reasonably expect us to and the purpose is related to the purpose for which it was collected.

2. Members’ personal information

We share personal information in these circumstances:

  1. Responding to Communications from You

  2. We may provide your personal information to third parties, as necessary to fulfill a transaction or respond to a question or claim about products or services you have purchased from or are supplying to us. However, we give third parties, and others involved in the distribution chain only the information useful or necessary to facilitate the transaction. We are not responsible for any information you provide directly to these parties, and we encourage you to become familiar with their practices before disclosing information directly to them.

  3. Member Services

  4. We may offer special products and services to our members through third parties, such as rebates, financial, travel, insurance and other business and consumer services ("Member Services"). We may share your name, postal address, email address and membership status, number and type ("Member Information") with these third parties in order to notify you of their offerings, to determine whether, or at what level, you qualify for the products, offerings or services, and to evaluate new and existing products, offerings or services. If you prefer that we not share Member Information with third parties, you can contact us at any time (see Choice below).

    These third parties are required by us to use personal information we share only to provide the requested services. We are not responsible for any additional information you provide directly to these parties, and we encourage you to become familiar with their privacy practices and policies before disclosing information to them. Information you provide to third parties, may in turn be shared with us along with information about your use of the services. In some cases, these third parties may require as a condition of providing services to you that you authorize them to share information with us. If we terminate our relationship with a third party, information you provided to them may be returned to us, and we may provide that information to a new third party offering the same or similar services.

  5. Our Contractors

  6. We may contract with others to perform services on our behalf. For example, we might retain a company to process credit card payments, assist us with fraud control, distribute emails, process rebates or analyze data. If any of these service providers need access to your personal information, we require them to use it only to perform the services for us. We also require that they maintain the confidentiality of the information and/or return the information to us when they no longer need it. Some of our contractors may be located outside of Australia or may store data in the cloud. Click here for a list of countries where our contractors may be located.

  7. Primary Account Holder

  8. Each membership account has an individual primary account holder who is authorized to designate and remove a household member and make other account management decisions. We may disclose the Personal Information such as name, contact information and member number to the primary account holder.

  9. Costco Family of Companies

  10. Your Costco membership allows you to shop at any Costco warehouse worldwide. We may disclose your personal information to Costco companies operating in other countries for uses consistent with this privacy policy. In addition, other Costco companies may perform services for us, such as information processing or management assistance. We may disclose your personal information as necessary to achieve these purposes. Click here for a list of Costco companies and the countries where they operate.

3. Disclosure of personal information in the cloud or overseas

We may disclose your information in the cloud or to organisations outside Australia. For example, we may use a server hosted overseas for storage and back up of data including your personal information.

If we disclose your personal information to an overseas recipient, we will take reasonable steps before disclosure to ensure that the overseas recipient will not breach the APPs. We are likely to disclose your personal information to overseas recipients for the purpose of storage in the United States, Canada, EU countries, Taiwan, Singapore and/or India.

E. Other Uses and Disclosures

In addition, we may use or disclose personal information in the good faith belief that we are lawfully authorized to do so, or that doing so is reasonably necessary to protect you, to comply with legal process or authorities, to respond to any claims, or to protect the rights, property or personal safety of Costco Wholesale, our Members, our employees or the public. Information about our Members, including personal information, may be disclosed or transferred as part of, or during negotiations of, any merger or sale of company assets or acquisition.

F. Protection of Personal and Credit Card Information

We hold personal information electronically and in hard copy form, both at our own premises and with the assistance of our service providers. We have physical, contractual, administrative and technical security measures in place to protect personal information from loss, misuse or alteration while it is under our control.

We are required to process card payments in accordance with the data security rules adopted by credit card companies. This means that we do not retain card numbers or security codes.

G. Choice, Opting Out

If you are a member, we give you choices related to your personal information, and numerous methods to inform us of your decision. The choices will apply to each individual you list on your membership application. Each individual, however, must contact us separately to change their information choices.

  • If you do not want us to share Member Information (see Member Services) with third parties, you can: (a) check the opt-out box on our membership applications; (b) follow the opt-out instructions on your renewal notices; (c) visit us at any Membership desk at any Australia warehouse location; (d) email us at membership@costco.com.au; or (f) write us at: Costco Wholesale Pty Ltd, Australian Home Office, 17-21 Parramatta Road, Lidcombe NSW 2141.
  • If you do not want to receive Promotional Information, you can: (a) visit us at any Membership desk at any Australia Costco warehouse location; (b) call us at (02) 9469 7999; (c) email us at membership@costco.com.au; or (d) write us at: Costco Wholesale Pty Ltd, Australian Home Office, 17-21 Parramatta Road, Lidcombe NSW 2141.

Please note, even if you opt-out of receiving Promotional Information , Costco may contact you for informational purposes, such as administration of your account or to alert you about product recalls or safety issues.

H. Health Care Centers

We appreciate the importance of safeguarding the privacy of members’ health information and consequently, in addition to what is described elsewhere in this privacy policy, we have special procedures to protect this sensitive information provided to our optical and hearing aid departments ("Health Care Centers"). Health information includes your prescription information and any health history or lifestyle information you have provided in order for us to provide you services and products. Additional information about our practices related to your health information is available at our Health Care Centres. We may process or store health information outside of Australia, in which case we will provide information about location of your personal health information along with other information available at our Health Care Centers.

I. Online Specifics

  1. Information Gathering and Use

  2. We use cookies. Cookies are small files that are stored on your computer. Your browser will accept cookies and allow automatic collection of information unless you change the browser default settings.. If cookies are disabled the website will not load properly. Like most websites, our servers log your IP address, the URL from which you accessed our site, your browser type, and the date and time of your purchases and other activities. We use this information for system analysis and administration, troubleshooting, and fraud investigation

    The information collected through cookies may identify your IP address or Device ID. By using our website, you consent to the collection of your information for this purpose.

    We may also use web beacons to determine when and how many times a page has been viewed. Again, we use this information for our own marketing purposes.

  3. Links to Other Sites

  4. From our website you may be able to link to websites of third parties. If it is not clear from the context that you are being directed to a third party site, we endeavor to notify you that you are visiting a site where a different privacy policy applies. In general, any personal information you provide on the linked pages is provided directly to that third party and is subject to that third party's privacy policy. We are not responsible for the content or privacy and security practices and policies of websites to which we link. We encourage you to learn about their privacy and security practices and policies before providing them with personal information.

J. Use of the costco.com.au Website by Children

We encourage parents to take an active interest in their children's use of the Internet. We do not intend to collect information from children who are under 18 years of age. If you are under 18, you should not provide information on the costco.com.au website.

K. Access and Correction of Personal Information, Questions or Concerns

If you would like to access or correct your personal information, or have any questions or concerns about this privacy policy or your personal information, you can do the following:

  • visit us at any Membership desk at any Costco warehouse location in Australia;
  • call us at call us at (02) 9469 7999;
  • email us at membership@costco.com.au; or
  • write to us at Costco Wholesale Pty Ltd, Australian Home Office, 17-21 Parramatta Road, Lidcombe NSW 2141.

Depending on your request, we may need to verify your identity.

We will endeavour to deal with your request within a reasonable time and provide you with our reasons, if we do not agree to allow you to review or correct your personal information. Where we decide not to make a requested correction to your personal information and you disagree, you may ask us to make a note of your requested correction with the information. In accordance with the Privacy Act, we reserve the right to charge you for providing access to any personal information we hold about you.

If you contact us regarding any privacy concerns, we may request additional details from you, and may need to engage or consult with other parties in order to investigate and deal with your issue. We will keep records of your request and any resolution.

Costco has other policies that address personal information related to employees and vendors. For information about these policies you may contact membership@costco.com.au.

More information about privacy law and the APPs is available from the Privacy Commissioner at www.oaic.gov.au (email - enquiries@oaic.gov.au).

L. Changes to this Privacy Policy

We may change this privacy policy at any time without notice. We will post a notice of material changes on our website, and any changes will be reflected on this page. You may click here to see previous versions of our privacy policy.

Last update of this policy: October, 2015

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