Weight Loss Grants posts customer health information without consent

A company that promised to pay customers for losing weight has posted personal information about clients, including their names, weights, weight loss goals and even facial photographs on its website.Weight Loss Grants revealed the personal information without clients’ consent after news reports described how the organization failed to make payments to customers who qualified for the rebates.Story continues belowGlobal News interviewed several customers who are owed as much as $1,900 by Weight Loss Grants, a scheme designed to attract people to register with an affiliated diet and weight loss company called Dalewood Health and Wellness. It has 32 locations across Canada.READ MORE: Canadian weight loss payback scheme cheated them, clients allegeWeight Loss Grants is owned and run by Darren Morgenstern, through Inventive Media Solutions Inc. Morgenstern previously founded the Ashley Madison spousal cheating site.Clients who participated in the Weight Loss Grants program were promised to get back 80 per cent of the fees charged through the Dalewood clinics, provided they reached their weight loss target in the time allowed.However, several clients told Global News that Weight Loss Grants refused to pay them even though they succeeded and followed the terms of the program.“I did follow all the rules, jumped through all the hoops even when they changed the rules all the way along,” said Jennifer Pratt of Vancouver, who lost the required weight and is owed $1,920 by Weight Loss Grants — an amount the company refused to pay.READ MORE: A B.C. woman was promised money for losing weight, but getting the cash was even tougher“They just feel they are above the law and can do what they want,” Pratt said.In a series of online postings, Weight Loss Grants railed against what it called a “media pile-on”.“We only posted our side of the story online to defend ourselves against the claims made by those people,” the company wrote on its website in answer to a question about why it revealed the clients’ clinical information.The clients had not consented to the release of personal information.“It’s a huge invasion of privacy,” said Ann Cavoukian, who served three terms as Ontario’s privacy commissioner and now leads the Privacy by Design Centre of Excellence at Ryerson University.READ MORE: A new drug is being called the ‘holy grail’ of weight-loss medicine. Is it true?“It’s completely unacceptable. This is the most personal information. There was certainly no expectation that this would be posted publicly.”After a follow-up report about Weight Loss Grants, the company continued to complain about Global News. It even singled out a student intern who was corresponding with the company to ask for an on-camera interview.“At the end of the day, a scorpion can only behave like a scorpion,” the company posted.Later, however, Weight Loss Grants changed its strategy entirely.After a second broadcast story aired, Weight Loss Grants published a notice on its website, advising customers whose grants were rejected to request a review of their files.WATCH: B.C. woman fights for weight loss grant money. Anne Drewa reports. (April 8)

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