Checkbook Privacy Policy

Updated On: Wednesday, September 7, 2022 11:50:20 AM EDT

  1. Introduction
  2. What Information is Collected About You and How it is Collected
  3. How Your Information is Used
  4. How we Share Your Personal Data
  5. How we Protect and Retain Personal Data
  6. Children’s Privacy
  7. Your Online Data Privacy Rights
  8. Changes to this Privacy Policy

1.Introduction

Consumers’ Checkbook (“Checkbook”, “We” or “Us”) is an independent nonprofit organization that works side by side with consumers for truth, transparency, and fairness in the marketplace. As part of that mission, we are committed to following a core set of Privacy Principles. This Privacy Policy outlines the information collected from users of Checkbook.org (“Website”), as well as users of our print publications and users of our other products, services, and programs, and how that information is used, shared, and protected by Checkbook. In addition to this Privacy Policy, users of the Website should review Checkbook’s Terms of Use for any additional terms or conditions that may apply.

By visiting this Website or utilizing Checkbook’s products or services, you consent to the practices in this Privacy Policy, provided that Checkbook will obtain your affirmative consent where legally required. You may withdraw your consent at any time and for any reason by contacting us at the address listed below in the Section titled "How You Can Contact Us."

2.What Information is Collected About You and How it is Collected

2.1 Personal Data You Submit

Personal data is collected upon registering for an Account with Checkbook and/or signing up for a Checkbook subscription. Checkbook also collects information from you when you submit reviews on a business or service provider. Information may also be collected when you interface with Checkbook and Checkbook’s business partners, including when calling customer support, and requesting information about Checkbook’s products and services.

2.2 Personal Data We Receive From Third Parties

Checkbook may collect additional information about you from other sources to help us correct and supplement our records and to improve the quality of our products and services. These sources include National Change of Address providers to keep your mailing address current; payment service providers who provide us with information to process your payment; data providers who provide us with updated phone numbers and/or demographic information; Google Analytics; and information available through publicly available sources such as open government databases.

The type of additional information we collect from these sources may include your updated mailing address, phone number, payment card information, and an aggregate view of all members interests (e.g., pets, sports, travel, and cars) as well as demographic data (e.g., age, gender, general income bracket, ethnicity, and children in household).

2.3 Other Information Collected

Checkbook and its business solution providers may also collect certain information automatically about your online activities through technical means, including through the use of cookies, web beacons, and other technologies, including:

2.3.1 IP Address

The Website automatically collects the Internet Protocol (IP) address of computers that access the Website. An IP address is a number that is assigned to a computer when it is used to access the Internet. IP addresses are used by Checkbook to determine a user’s geographic location. In addition, the Website also collects information concerning users’ browsing history on the Website, and any information inputted by users into the Website.

2.3.2 Location Information

When you visit our Website, geo-location information is derived from your IP address, which is used to identify your general geographic area.

2.3.3 Content Interaction

Checkbook also collects information about your interactions with our content. This includes areas you visit on Checkbook.org, your interaction with Checkbook ads, emails, and other communications, and your interaction with Checkbook ads and content you see on other organizations’ websites.

2.4 Cookies

A “cookie” is a piece of data from a website that is stored within a web browser that the website can retrieve at a later time. Cookies contain a unique number that allows our Website to recognize your device each time you visit and remember information about you. You do not need to allow cookies to visit most of the Website. However, enabling cookies may allow for a more tailored browsing experience and is required for certain parts of the Website to work.

2.5 First-Party Cookies

Checkbook uses cookies to maintain access privileges during an online session, to correctly identify the region of Checkbook you have access to, as part of identity verification for those users who complete online surveys, and to enable other user features.

2.6 Third-Party Services

Checkbook uses third-party services to assist in communicating with members and promoting Checkbook to new audiences. These services may be separate websites or may be applications embedded within the Checkbook Website. When users interact with Checkbook.org through a third-party service, the third-party service provider's privacy policies apply.

2.7 Information Collected by Third Parties

Certain third parties such as ad networks that serve Checkbook ads, analytics companies, and social networking platforms may collect information through cookies, web beacons, mobile ad identifiers, and other technologies that track your online activities across Checkbook.org and other online services, including information about your interactions with our ads and our content and the websites you visit. The information they collect about you may be aggregated with data these companies collect about you across different websites, online services (including social media services), and your associated devices. These third parties use your information for their business purposes and in accordance with their own privacy policies.

2.8 Third-Party Services

Checkbook uses the following third-party services as follows:

2.8.1 Facebook

Checkbook uses Facebook to promote content and general Checkbook information to current and prospective members.
To opt out: Facebook users can adjust advertising settings.

2.8.2 Google Analytics

Checkbook uses Google Analytics to better understand Website performance and usage.
To opt out: Users can opt out of Google Analytics through the Google Opt Out Browser Add-on.

2.8.3 SafeOpt

Checkbook uses the SafeOpt platform to send remarketing emails to prospective members.
To opt out: Users can opt out by managing their SafeOpt preferences.

2.8.4 Marketo

Checkbook uses the Adobe Market platform, Marketo, to send targeted email communications to members and non-members.
To opt out: Users can manage their email preferences here.

2.8.5 Optinmonster

Checkbook uses Optinmonster to display on-page messaging to current and prospective members.
To opt out: Users can utilize browser privacy settings to block Optinmonster cookies.

2.8.6 Help Scout

Checkbook uses Help Scout to host Guide to Health Plans for Federal Employees advice articles and to provide user support.
Learn more: Users can learn more about how Help Scout may use your information here.

2.8.7 Cloudflare

Checkbook uses Cloudflare as a Content Distribution Network (CDN) and for Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) mitigation services.
To opt out: Users can utilize browser privacy settings to block Cloudflare cookies.

2.8.8 Anchor.fm

Checkbook uses Anchor.fm to host the Consumerpedia podcast.
Learn more: Users can learn more about how Anchor.fm may use your information here.

2.8.9 Soundcloud

Checkbook uses Soundcloud to host audio highlights found in advice articles.
Learn more: Users can learn more about how Soundcloud may use your information here.

2.8.10 HotJar

Checkbook uses HotJar to analyze anonymous user behavior.
To opt out: Users can learn how to opt out here.

3.How Your Information is Used

Checkbook uses information collected across its Website, products, and services in the following manner:

  • For Products and Services - Any Personal Data users voluntarily provide is used by Checkbook to provide services, products, or information you have requested, to personalize your experience, to answer your questions/requests, to perform our obligations under any agreement between Checkbook and you, and to communicate with you about your account/subscription;
  • For general business purposes, including customizing our products and services to provide you with a richer, more relevant experience;
  • To provide others with your information for the limited purposes described in section 4 of this Privacy Policy, or as described to you when collecting your personal data, or otherwise with your express consent;
  • To conduct research and analysis to help improve Checkbook products and services;
  • To operate, optimize, and improve Checkbook products and services;
  • For communications, program operations, and fraud detection;
  • To conduct marketing and fundraising activities, including providing information about products and services that may be of interest to you;
  • To measure or understand the effectiveness of our Website;
  • To audit and/or administer our accounts;
  • To report on the impact and effectiveness of our work;
  • To evaluate or conduct a potential business transaction; and
  • To satisfy legal obligations which are binding on us, for the prevention of fraud or misuse of services, and for the establishment, defense and/or enforcement of legal claims.

3.1 Communications

Checkbook sends out announcements on new products, weekly newsletters, requests for member input, and other items we believe will be of interest. If, however, you do not wish to receive these communications, you may indicate your preference in your subscriber registration information, by email at [email protected], by telephone at 888-596-0729, or through My Account at https://www.checkbook.org/. Checkbook may continue to send members “transactional” emails and other communications related to their subscriptions.

4.How we Share Your Personal Data

We take the protection of your Personal Data seriously and it is treated securely and in accordance with this Privacy Policy and applicable laws when it is shared.

We may share information collected from or about you with others, including business solution providers and other third parties, for the purposes described herein.

4.1 Sharing with Business Solution Providers

We may share your information with business solution providers who help us with specialized services such as payment processing, analytics, and member support. Additionally, we authorize certain vendors to use data collected when you use Checkbook products and services to generate aggregated, anonymous information to help us improve our offerings.

4.2 Sharing for Marketing Purposes

If you subscribe to Checkbook, we may exchange or rent your name and mailing address (but not your email address) with other nonprofits and publishers that offer products or services through direct mail. We screen all such offers and strive to select trustworthy, reputable companies which offer high quality products or services of interest to you. If you prefer not to receive these offers, please go to My Account at https://www.checkbook.org/ to opt-out.

4.3 Sharing For Fundraising Purposes

We share certain donor data (such as full name, mailing address and donation information, but not your email address, telephone number(s) or any financial account information) with other organizations. If you prefer not to have your Personal Data shared with other organizations, please go to My Account at https://www.checkbook.org/ to opt-out.

4.4 Sharing With Our Affiliates

We may share your information among our affiliates, which are related legal entities.

4.5 Legal Requirements

We may access, preserve and disclose your information if we believe that we are required to do so by applicable law, such as to comply with a search warrant, court order, subpoena, or request from law enforcement, to enforce our legal rights and agreements (including Checkbook's Terms of Use Agreement), and to defend against legal claims.

4.6 Protect Our Websites and Users

We may disclose your information to investigate, prevent or take action regarding suspected illegal activities, including fraud, to protect the legal rights, safety and property of Checkbook and its employees, agents and contractors, and in connection with any safety or security concerns involving our users or the public.

4.7 Information from Public Posts

Personal data you submit to a Checkbook publication or elect to post in a public area of a digital service is public and may be shared with third parties. If you don’t want people to know your name, email address, or other information that identifies you personally, do not include that information in your public posts.

5.How we Protect and Retain Personal Data

We have implemented certain physical, administrative, and technical security procedures to help protect the personal data that you provide to us. However, no security system is impenetrable, and we cannot guarantee that the personal data that you provide to us will never be accessed, used, or released in a manner that is inconsistent with this Policy.

Checkbook’s Website is hosted by servers in the United States. Accordingly, if you are located outside of the United States, any data you provide to us will be transferred to the United States. By submitting such data, you consent to its transfer and storage in the United States and its use in accordance with the purposes for which it was originally collected.

Checkbook will retain your personal data as needed to fulfill the purposes for which it was collected, or until consent is revoked. Your information will be retained and used as necessary to comply with Checkbookʼs business requirements and legal obligations, resolve disputes, protect our assets, and enforce our agreements.

Checkbook also uses third-party services in accordance with the Policy described herein. These third parties use your information for their business purposes and in accordance with their own privacy policies.

6.Children’s Privacy

We believe in the importance of protecting the privacy of children online. The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) governs information gathered online from or about children under the age of 13. Checkbook’s Website is not intended for individuals under the age of 13, and we do not knowingly collect personal data from children under 13. Should we learn that a child under 13 has provided us with personal data, we will delete that information from our database.

7.Your Online Data Privacy Rights

You have the following rights regarding your personal data held by Checkbook.

  • The right to know about the personal data collected by the Website and how it is used and shared, as described throughout this Policy.
  • The right to access, modify, or correct personal data collected by Checkbook.
  • The right to opt-out of having your data shared for marketing purposes.
    • Additionally, The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) manages an opt-out service, DMA Choice, that will remove you from most direct mail solicitations going forward. Visit DMAchoice to learn more and sign-up.
  • The Right to Erasure: your data will be retained as long as it serves a legitimate business purpose, or until you delete or request deletion of such information.
  • The Right to Restrict Processing: as an alternative to deletion or modification, you may request that your information only be used for specific reasons.
  • The right to non-discrimination: you will not be subject to lesser or inferior access to products or services by exercising any of your data-related rights described in this Policy.

You can exercise some of your rights through your account settings at Checkbook.org as well as by contacting us following the instructions below:

Email us at: [email protected]

Or write to us at:

Privacy Office
Checkbook/CSS
1625 K Street, NW, Suite 800
Washington, DC 20006

8.Changes to this Privacy Policy

We may update this Privacy Policy in the future. If we make a change to this Policy that, in our sole discretion, is material, we will notify you by placing the updated Privacy Policy on the Website and/or contacting you using any contact information that you have provided us, and we will indicate in the Privacy Policy the date on which it was most recently updated. Any personal data that you provide to us after we modify this Privacy Policy will be governed by the practices described in the updated Privacy Policy.

If you have any questions or concerns about this Privacy Policy, you may contact us at:

Privacy Office
Checkbook/CSS
1625 K Street, NW, Suite 800
Washington, DC 20006

[email protected]