Let's talk about privacy
The policy explains how Boots uses your personal data, whether you're shopping on boots.com, having your eyes tested at Boots Opticians or having a prescription filled at your local Boots pharmacy.
There's one change we'd like to point out to you. Our new policy explains that we share customers' personal data across the companies that make up Boots, so we can offer you the best possible service.
The only change you might notice is that if, for example, you are not currently a Boots Advantage Card member, but have agreed to get information from another part of Boots, you may start to receive some new offers and information that we think you may find interesting from us.
We're confident you'll still love the offers we send you, but if you ever decide you'd prefer not to hear from us you can opt out easily and quickly by logging into the 'My Account' section from your Boots Advantage Card or boots.com account and updating your preferences there. Alternatively, if you are a Boots Opticians or Boots Pharmacy customer, please visit your local Opticians or Pharmacy and change your preferences in-store.
Our promise to you
Who's in control of your information?
For the purposes of the Data Protection Act 1998, we have several companies registered as 'Data Controllers' with the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), principally Boots UK, Boots Opticians Professional Services Limited and Boots Hearingcare Limited. Details are published on a register on the ICO website where you can also find lots of useful information about Data Protection, what it means to you as an individual and how it applies to companies like Boots.
Collecting information about you
Information we get from you
Boots collects personal information about you whenever you shop with us or use our services. Some of it is information you give us directly when, for example, you place an order on boots.com, sign up for a Boots Advantage Card, have a prescription dispensed in one of our pharmacies or have an eye test at a Boots Opticians. Other information is collected indirectly, for example when you use your Boots Advantage Card in store, use our app or post comments on our Facebook page.
Information we collect online: Cookies
We also use 'Pixels', or 'Transparent GIF files', to help manage our online advertising. These are files provided by our advertising management partner, DoubleClick, that can recognise a unique Cookie we have placed on your web browser. This in turn helps us learn which advertisements are most effective at bringing users to our website. The information collected in this way is anonymous, and does not contain any information that identifies you personally.
More information about DoubleClick.
Making our website work:
These Cookies are essential so that you can move around the site and login to the secure areas. Without them you would be unable to shop on the website or access your account.
Monitoring and improving the performance of the website:
These Cookies collect information about how visitors use the boots.com site, eg which pages they visit most often and whether they see error messages. The information is combined so it does not identify individuals, and we use it only to help us improve the way the website works.
Enabling the features of the website:
These Cookies allow our website to remember choices you have made, such as your user name or the region you are in, and help us provide you with a better, more personal experience. For example, they may allow you to watch a video clip, comment on a blog or add a product review.
Marketing and advertising:
These Cookies are used to deliver adverts that are more relevant to you as well as to limit the number of times you see a particular advertisement and to measure the effectiveness of advertising campaigns. The Cookies remember that you have visited a website and this information may then be shared with other organisations for advertising purposes. They're also used to enable price-comparison sites to work.
What are 'Flash Cookies' (or 'local shared objects')?
Boots.com uses Adobe Flash Player to deliver video content and interactive product images. Flash Cookies are stored on your device in a similar way to other types of Cookie, but they're managed differently by your browser.
If you wish to disable or delete Flash Cookies, you can do this through Adobe Flash Player security settings, but please note that you may then be unable to view certain types of information and content on the boots.com website.
A list of the Cookies we use
For a list of the Cookies that may be stored on your computer when you visit boots.com, and why we use them, see our frequently asked questions. From time to time we may make changes to this list as we add or remove features from our website.
Restricting or blocking Cookies
If you'd still prefer to restrict, block or delete Cookies from boots.com or any other website, it's easy to do in your internet browser. Each browser is different, so you'll need to go to the 'help' menu on your browser and look for how to change your 'Cookie preferences'.
Your privacy and shared computers
If you login to boots.com from a shared computer, such as in an internet cafe or from a colleague's computer at work, Cookies may cause your email address to display in the login field to anyone who uses the site on that computer after you. You can avoid this by clearing the Cookies stored by the web browser. The option to do this is normally in the 'Tools' dropdown menu at the top of the browser window.
Mobile app privacy
Information we access when you use the Boots app
The Boots app needs to access certain information held in your phone and some of the device’s functions in order to work properly. By downloading the Boots app, you are giving Boots permission to do this for the purposes below. Rest assured that we only use these permissions to provide the app and the services you request and use through it.
Device ID and identity of the user – The Boots app captures information about the device it has been installed on, such as the model of your phone, the version of the operating system it is using and the version of the app that has been installed. This allows Boots to accurately notify you when updates to the app are available for your version. The app also captures a device ID reference which allows us to send notification messages to your specific device if you have agreed that we may do so.
Location – If you give permission for the Boots app to access location services (such as GPS or location from the network), the app will use this data to enable the ‘Store Locator’ feature to help identify stores near your present location. The app can access two different location options: ‘approximate’, where location is determined by accessing the network from your device, and ‘precise’, where GPS data is used in addition to network data for more accurate positioning.
Storage, Photos, Media Files, Camera and Flashlight – The Boots app needs access to these areas of your device to enable you to use the Photo feature and select the images you wish to send to Boots stores to be printed. The Boots app can also access your device’s camera to allow you to take photos if you choose to capture a new image for printing. The camera is also used to enable you to scan a barcode, and the app may also activate the flashlight on your device to give the camera sufficient light to take photos or scan barcodes.
Phone and call information – The Boots app can access the phone dialler on your device to enable you to make calls directly from within the Boots app, for instance to dial the Boots customer support team.
Contacts – The Boots app can access contacts stored on your device to enable you to share the Boots app via social media channels with contacts held on your device.
WiFi, network connections and internet data – The Boots app needs a connection to the internet in order to function, so it will access data services on your device. It will connect to available WiFi networks, if WiFi is active on the device, in order to download data. If the app cannot use an available WiFi network, data will be retrieved from the network using the device’s 3G or 4G connection.
Prevent Device From Sleeping –The Boots app can if required prevent your device from sleeping to ensure the app can receive notifications even when the device is not awake.
Vibration Control – The Boots app can access the device’s ability to vibrate so a vibration alert can be provided when a notification is received.
Information we obtain from other sources
From external companies
From time to time we may supplement the information we hold about you with data from other commercially-available sources like the electoral roll and companies that collate and update data. This helps us keep our records up to date and learn more about our customers so we can continue to improve our products and services.
Occasionally, for marketing purposes, we may obtain lists of potential customers from external companies. We will only deal with reputable companies that take privacy and data protection as seriously as we do, and we will always let you choose not to receive further marketing material from us.
Acquiring new Pharmacy or Opticians businesses
If you are a customer of an Opticians or Pharmacy business that has been taken over by Boots, we will receive your personal information from them as part of the handover process. Where this happens, we will place a notice in-store or we may contact you in writing to tell you that your personal information is changing hands. If you do not wish your data to be transferred to Boots, you should speak to the Store Manager.
Information about your health
When you use our services, some of the information we collect may be about your health and include data from NHS bodies such as your GP or hospital. We understand the sensitivity of this information and will only use it to provide you with these services and fulfil our legal obligations to the NHS or similar bodies.
If you have told us that it's fine to send you marketing, we may send you offers on healthcare products you sometimes buy or, if you are a Boots Opticians customer, on glasses or contact lenses. We will never use information about your prescriptions for marketing, although we may use it to let you know about services we provide that might be useful and relevant to you. For example, when you collect a prescription a Boots Pharmacist might ask if you would like to take advantage of our New Medicines Service, a Medicines Use Review, Diabetic Support Services or other similar services that may be relevant and useful to you. These services are voluntary but if you choose to use them we will need to ask you some health-related questions in order to fulfil our contractual obligations with the NHS. The information you give us will only be shared with the relevant NHS bodies and we won't use it for any other purpose.
Online pharmacy services
If you purchase Pharmacy medicines from our online clinics, we will ask you some questions about your health to help us check that the medicine you are buying is suitable for you. This information is held securely on our systems and used only for processing your order. We won't use it for any other purpose.
Similarly, if you use our Prescription Dispensing and Delivery Service, we will ask you to give us some health-related information online. This information is held securely on our Pharmacy system to allow Pharmacy staff in Boots stores to check your prescription history and medical conditions, ensuring you receive the best possible service from us.
We may contact you by email about your online clinic order or prescription so please ensure that you're happy with the security and privacy of the email account you use in connection with this. Please note that if you send an email directly to our Pharmacy Service from your own email account, its contents will not be encrypted and therefore cannot be guaranteed to be secure.
Information provided by other people on your behalf
If someone books an appointment on your behalf we will ask them for basic details about you, which may include health details such as whether you have a family history of diabetes or glaucoma. This is to ensure we book you in for the right type and length of appointment with the correct healthcare professional. Of course, we'll check with you when you come to your appointment to make sure the information we've been given is accurate.
If you're booking an appointment for someone else, please make sure they are happy for you to provide this personal information on their behalf and that they understand why we need to ask for it.
How we use your personal information
Providing our products and services
We use your personal information to provide our products and services, respond to queries and comments and provide you with the best possible level of customer service. We may use it to contact you about orders you have placed, appointments you have booked or to send you reminders (eg about repeat prescriptions or when your next eye test or flu vaccination is due). We may also contact you in emergency situations such as an urgent product recall or where we have a duty of care to notify you of information that relates to your health.
Learning more about you
We'll consolidate the information we hold about you across the companies in Walgreens Boots Alliance and the different channels you use to interact with us (eg website, stores, our app, correspondence etc.). We do this to keep our records accurate and up to date, provide you with a seamless and consistent service and build a clearer picture of our customers both as a group and as individuals. By understanding you better we can offer you the best and most personalised service we can, but don't worry - we will only send you marketing material if you have agreed that we can.
Marketing and advertising
We may analyse your personal information, including the products you view and buy, your browsing habits and other ways you interact with Boots, to evaluate the effectiveness of our advertising and to help us provide more relevant offers, advice and information. Rest assured, however, that we will only send you marketing material if you've agreed that we can and that we will never use sensitive information about your health in this way. (See 'Information about your health' above for more details about how we obtain and use health-related information).
You can change your mind about receiving marketing material from us at any time by contacting Boots Customer Care or logging into your account on boots.com. Please be aware that, as our marketing campaigns are prepared well in advance, you may still receive material by post for up to 2 months, and by email or text for up to 28 days, after updating your preferences.
You can also opt in or out of receiving our e-newsletters on a variety of health-related topics, as well as 'weekly offers' emails by visiting our online preference centre. Alternatively you can click on the link at the bottom of any email we have sent you to opt out on that particular type of email.
Crime prevention and detection
To protect our customers, our staff and our business, we may use your personal data to help prevent and detect crime. We use CCTV to record images in our stores, and when you place an order on our website we carry out identity verification and fraud prevention checks, validating the personal information you give against appropriate third party databases. This may involve disclosing information to a Credit Reference Agency, which will keep a record of that information and may pass it to the police.
If you require access to CCTV footage (for example, if you are the victim of a crime that takes place on Boots premises), you should write to us at:
Central Customer Care Team
We will ask you to provide proof of your identity, the date and approximate time of the incident you wish to view and as much detail as you can to help us locate the correct footage, and we may make a small charge. We will do our best to help, but there are situations in which we may be unable to make CCTV footage available to you, such as where the incident occurred some time ago or if we believe that allowing you to view it would breach someone else's privacy.
As a Pharmacy-based retailer, research is vital to our business. Occasionally, we contact customers who meet a particular set of criteria, including health-related factors, to invite them to take part in clinical research. The research may be carried out by external companies acting on our behalf but we will never pass your personal information to them unless we have your consent to do so.
Similarly, we may invite you to take part in market research activities such as customer surveys, questionnaires or focus groups. Again, we will never pass your personal information to external companies for this purpose without your consent.
Sharing your information outside Walgreens Boots Alliance
Companies that provide services on our behalf
We share your personal information with companies that provide services on our behalf, such as printers, couriers, mailing houses, manufacturers and suppliers. We always ensure these companies give your information the same level of care and security as we do. If your information is to be sent outside Europe, we make sure it will be subject to standards of protection and security that are as high as those Boots uses here in the UK.
Sharing with the NHS
We share information with NHS bodies to fulfil our legal obligations as a provider of Pharmacy, Optical and Hearing Care services, or where we have a duty of care to do so.
If you have asked us to register you for an NHS scheme or service such as the NHS Organ Donor scheme, we will pass your personal information to the NHS using a secure method of data transfer, so the NHS can register you for the relevant scheme or service.
If you choose to have one of the NHS services provided in our pharmacies, such as a Medicines Use Review, we will ask you for health-related information which is needed to fulfil our contractual obligations to the NHS. We share this information only with NHS bodies and will not use it in any other way, although we may use your contact details to send you reminders about any follow-up appointments.
We may share your personal information with third parties where required or permitted by law, if we believe we need to do so to protect our rights, or to comply with legal proceedings. In such cases, we will always do so legally and with due regard to your privacy.
From time to time we may contact you with special offers on behalf of brands we stock, but we will never share your data with those brands for them to use in their own marketing.
Changes to our business
If ownership of all or part of our business changes or we undergo a reorganisation (including a merger or transfer between Walgreens Boots Alliance companies), we will transfer your personal information to the new owner or successor company so we can continue to provide our services.
How long do we keep your personal information?
We hold your personal information for as long as we have a legal or business reason to do so, which generally means as long as you remain a Boots customer or as required to meet our legal obligations, resolve disputes or enforce our agreements. To fulfil our obligations to NHS, regulatory or similar bodies, health-related personal information may need to be retained for a period of time after you cease to be a Boots customer. We will always store it securely and will not use it for any other purpose.
Securing your payment details online
Boots.com has been issued with a Secure Server Digital Certificate by the online Certification Authority, VeriSign, and is authorised to display the VeriSign Authentic Site Seal. This confirms that boots.com is a legitimate website that provides an encrypted communication channel to protect the information you pass to Boots when making a purchase. For more information about VeriSign Digital Authentication services and online security guarantees, visit the VeriSign website. In addition to this, all credit/debit card payments are securely handled by an industry-leading payment processor and are never stored on the Boots website.
We are so confident of the security on our website that we back every purchase with our assurance of security: in the event of unauthorised use of your credit or debit card, your card issuer may require you to pay the first £50 but boots.com will cover your liability up to that amount provided that the unauthorised use of your card was on purchases made at boots.com and resulted from no fault of your own. You must notify your card provider of the unauthorised usage in accordance with its reporting rules and procedures.
Staying in control of your information
We respect the fact that your personal information is your information, and we'll make it easy for you to update or change your personal details or marketing permissions. Please help us to help you by letting us know if your contact details change or if you spot any errors in the information we hold about you.
If you would like a copy of the information Boots holds about you or have any queries about the way Boots handles your personal information, please contact Boots Customer Care.