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GetReminded is a free Australian app designed to help you save money by reminding you of significant dates. This could be to avoid late fees by paying your bills on time, or when a contract period ends so you can negotiate a better deal. It can remind you when credit cards expire before you get caught out, or just about any significant date, such as birthdays, anniversaries and more.

While it all sounds great, the important thing to remember about free apps is that developers need to monetise them. Otherwise, they would have no way to cover their costs and make a profit.

So remember, if the product is free, the product is you!

A popular way to do this is with the information that they learn about you. Once they know your interests, for example, you can become a valuable destination for 3rd party advertising. Also, your data could be shared with other companies that the developer does business with. Depending on the app, you may not even be aware of private or intimate information that’s collected about you or who it’s shared with.

How does GetReminded manage your information?

We received a press release about GetReminded, which piqued my interest as I like to promote anything Australian.

Naturally, I went straight past the claims about how much money it can save you to the Privacy Policy. Yep, it was a data-harvesting app that allows GetReminded to shop your interests to the highest bidder. Enter your electricity bill and receive a selection of offers to switch.

Listed below is what I found from publicly available information. The ‘catch 22s‘ are mine (with apologies to Joseph Heller). A catch22 is a paradoxical situation from which an individual cannot escape because of contradictory rules or limitations.

GetReminded PTY LTD (Est July 2017). The app release was May 2019.

Its terms of service state:

GetReminded is a free mobile app and web service that sends automated reminders about an expiring contract, policy, service or event based on a date nominated by the User.

Catch 22: Reminder notifications and emails will include one or more relevant third party advertisements.

Users must first create an Account by using a Facebook or Google profile or by registering with their name and email.

Catch 23: By creating an account, you consent to receive ‘regular reminders”. There is no limit to how many reminders. Elsewhere it states, ‘Users receive a series of emails containing a reminder of a nominated expiry date for a particular contract, policy, service or event. The emails will be sent at various intervals to alert Users about the expiry date and include advertising content related to the contract, policy, service or event.’

Reminder detail screens in the mobile app and in emails sent to your email address may include third-party advertisements that are relevant to the category and type of the nominated reminder. For example, a reminder about a mobile phone contract expiry may include advertising from one or more mobile phone companies.

Catch 24: Well, at least you should not get snail mail, door to door salespeople or phone calls. Or will you?

Users will receive emails and view in-app advertisements that contain links to websites controlled by parties other than GetReminded. GetReminded provides these links as relevant information for its Users… GetReminded is not responsible for and does not endorse, or accept any responsibility for, the use or content of these third-party sites.

Catch 25: GetReminded can list third-party links. But it has no responsibility for the content, data harvesting or even malware from those links. Surely it has a responsibility to check the veracity of any commercial links on an ongoing basis.

GetReminded may, with or without prior notice, without liability to you, with or without cause, and at any time, terminate your access to the Platform.

Catch 26. Not only is it not responsible for its actions but can terminate your account at any time.

GetReminded
Always know what you are trading for a free app.

Your private information

The privacy policy 19 November 2019 reveals some things to be aware of. We’ve summarised the scarier bits:

We may collect personal information, including:

  • social media account usernames and information published on your social media accounts
  • any other personal information you provide directly to us. Where you provide us with unsolicited personal information, we will retain this information where it falls within our primary purposes for collection of personal information (as stated in this Privacy Policy)
  • any other personal information requested or required by a Collection Channel

Catch 27: GetReminded can potentially supplement your profile with third-party social media profiles such as Google or Facebook that you can log in with. NEVER log in with third-party credentials as it allows two-way tracking and exchange of information.

How do we share your personal information?

  • We do not share your personal information with our users or anyone else other than as specified in this Privacy Policy. Solely for the purposes described above, personal information may be shared with the entities below, including their directors, servants and agents: marketing partners; technical service providers such as email platforms, internet hosting providers and other trusted service providers.
  • These recipients may be engaged by us to perform a variety of functions, such as legal and accounting services, data storage, support services, market research, communications and promotions and providing technical services for our websites or Platform. These companies may have access to personal information if needed to perform such functions.
  • Some of the recipients of your personal information may be located overseas. GetReminded employees, data processors and other trusted third parties are obliged to respect the confidentiality of any personal information held by GetReminded. However, security of communications over the Internet cannot be guaranteed, and therefore absolute assurance that information will be secure at all times cannot be given. We will not be held responsible for events arising from unauthorised access to personal information except to the extent required by the relevant privacy laws.
  • The recipients of your personal information may be located in Australia or overseas. The recipients overseas may not have the same data protection laws as the country in which you initially provided the information. When we transfer your information to other countries or the recipient is overseas, we will protect that information as described in this Privacy Notice.

GadgetGuy’s take: Please ACCC – make companies disclose data-harvesting in any guise

GetReminded

I have nothing against GetReminded, only that it should be upfront about its business model: ‘We will provide a reminder service in return for your information – and here’s how we will profit from it.’

It is a little worse in that advertisers are not prequalified to give you a better deal – they just pay for the opportunity to convince you to switch.

It is your right to sign up to GetReminded should you value what they provide. Just be clear on what it costs you. If you want to no longer use GetReminded, send an email [email protected]. Request termination of your account and immediate deletion of all information.

Always remember, IF THE PRODUCT IS FREE, THE PRODUCT IS YOU. We will call out any such apps when they come to our attention. BTW Price-comparison websites are probably the worst offenders of all.