Should you have to provide your passport to buy shampoo? When a Wellington woman ordered shampoo and conditioner on nzsale.co.nz, the company requested a copy of her driver’s licence or passport with a utility bill to confirm her address.

It informed her it wouldn’t dispatch her order until she’d provided the additional information but relented when she refused. The company’s representative said: “I would not want to deprive you of the excitement of getting the item you purchased.”

Nzsale.co.nz told us it requested additional security information to prevent fraud. It asked for the information from any customer with an order history of less than six months who spent more than $300 in one transaction.

The Privacy Act allows organisations to collect data provided it’s for a valid reason. But companies don’t have carte blanche to request personal details from you. If a company wants your identity information, ask why and what it intends to do with it. Take your custom elsewhere if you’re not comfortable disclosing these details.

For more information, see our report on Online privacy.