Ikea in Trouble for Illegal Surveillance Campaign
Across the channel, a high street giant finds itself in trouble this week after an illegal surveillance campaign.
Police in France raided Ikea’s Paris headquarters, following accusations that the company hired private detectives to illegally spy on customers and staff.
According an article published in the Guardian newspaper police swooped on the Swedish furniture giant’s risk management department seizing computers and documents which they hoped would shed light on the illegal surveillance operation.
Ikea hired the private detectives to look into the private lives of three unhappy customers who complained about the late delivery of kitchens and wardrobes.
The story, originally published by Mediapart told of a US couple who had been waiting more than two months to receive furnishings for their Brittany holiday home. Another customer had been investigated after complaining of receiving faulty parts for a wardrobe.
Two French trade Unions have also filed legal suits against the company, alleging that Ikea hired private detectives to fraudulently access the police and judicial records of employees.
A spokesperson for Ikea issued the following statement: “The company’s ethical rules are very clear: we work with honesty and transparency, in whatever country we are present.
“Respect for people’s private lives is among the most strongly held private lives of the group and we strongly disapprove of any action which calls that into question.”
They added that the company was treating the allegations extremely seriously and would not provide further comment until the company’s own internal investigation was concluded.
Could it have avoided this hot water? Well, the simple answer is yes.
Corporate investigations and surveillance could potentially save businesses millions, it does sound like Ikea’s sense of proportion has gurgled down one of its own designer-stainless steel sinks!
Whether or not the customer was right in this case seems largely unimportant. For the price it costs to kit out a cottage, Ikea could have compensated the customers involved and avoided a huge PR nightmare.
Moreover, hiring detectives to pry into confidential police records illegally is not only something of an over-reaction, it’s morally wrong. And following the News of the World hacking scandal, unethical practices are one of the biggest challenges facing private detectives today.
Hopefully Ikea will learn from this mistake. Here at privatedetective.co.uk, we’re all about investigation – but sometimes there’s no substitute for a bit of good old fashioned customer service!
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