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Retail France Digital data Privacy Investigation

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French retailer apologises for insults included in its client files

media
Reuters

French household appliance store Boulanger apologised Saturday for derogatory comments about its customers in its computer files, promising an internal investigation after France's data protection watchdog CNIL found 5,828 instances of "inappropriate" comments about clients.


Comments in the company's files included: "stupid" "fat bitch", “smelly”, "ball-breaker", "retard", "Jew", "strong African accent", "alcoholic" and "nutcase", according to CNIL.

The agency gave Boulanger three months to ensure its files contain only pertinent information about clients, or face legal action.

"They were rare occurrences, but they did happen and we shouldn't try to avoid owning up to this serious failure," Boulanger managing director Etienne Hurez said in statement, asking clients to accept his apology for the "unacceptable comments".

The company will conduct its own probe into the comments and comply with CNIL's orders, Hurez said.

Boulanger is controlled by the Mulliez family, which owns many of France's top retailers including supermarket chain Auchan, DIY store Leroy Merlin and the sporting goods retailer Decathlon.