What personal information does RS collect?
RS may collect, acquire, receive, record, organise, collate, store, update, change, retrieve, read, process, analyse, use and share your Personal Information in the manner as set out in this Privacy Statement. When we perform one or more of these actions, we are "Processing" your Personal Information.
"Personal Information" refers to private information about an identifiable natural or juristic person. Personal Information does not include information that does not identify a person (including in instances where that information has been anonymised). The Personal Information that we collect about you may differ on the basis of the products and/or services that you receive from RS.
RS collects Personal Information from you when you provide it to us directly, or through your use of our website, for example:
• Information about yourself and the company you work for, when you register for an account with us. This may include your name and contact details, your company name and company details, information about your role in the company, and how you heard about the site.
• Transaction, billing and delivery information, if you make a purchase with us or contract for one of our solutions or services.
• Records of your interactions with us, e.g. if you send email feedback to our website, ask a technical question, report a problem or otherwise contact us. Please note that if you telephone us, we may record the call for compliance, quality and staff training purposes.
• If you respond to one of our customer surveys or enter into a competition.
• If you interact with one of our sales agents, for example at a trade counter, trade show or customer premises.
• We may also collect certain of your Personal Information from the Access Device that you use to access and navigate RS Online ("Access Device"), such as the website you came from or are going to, your device's unique ID, your IP addresses and operating system, adverts you click on, products you search for, products you purchase, and information you download. Marketing emails we send you may also automatically detect whether you have received or opened the email or clicked on a link in our marketing materials. We use this information for our own performance measurement, but also so that we can tailor our promotional messages and advertising to you.
How does RS use my personal information?
Depending on how you use RS Online, your interactions with us, and the permissions you give us, we will use your personal information for the following purposes:
- To fulfil your order and/or provide you with the services you have contracted for.
- To maintain your online account with us.
- To establish and verify your identity on RS Online.
- To retain and make information available to you on RS Online.
- To manage and respond to any queries or complaints to our customer service team.
- To personalise RS Online to you and show you content we think you will be most interested in, based on your account information, your purchase history and your browsing activity.
- To operate, administer, secure and develop RS Online, and monitor its usage.
- To fulfil any contractual obligations that we may have to you or any third party.
- To communicate with you and retain a record of our communications with you and your communications with us.
- For market research, e.g. we may contact you for feedback about our products and services.
- To send you marketing messages and show you targeted advertising, where we have your consent or are otherwise permitted to do so.
- To maintain and update our customer, or potential customer databases.
- For security purposes, to detect, prevent or manage actual or alleged fraud, security breaches or the abuse, misuse or unauthorised use of RS Online and contraventions of this Privacy Statement or any of the terms and conditions that apply to your use of RS Online and where necessary to protect ourselves and third parties.
- To comply with our legal and regulatory obligations.
- To protect our rights in any litigation that may involve you.
- For other lawful purposes that are relevant to our business activities or regulatory functions.
RS will restrict its processing of your Personal Information to the original purpose for which it was collected, unless RS reasonably considers that it is necessary to process it for another purpose that is compatible with the original purposes.
RS may, where permitted or required to do so by applicable legislation, process your Personal Information without your knowledge or consent, and will do so in accordance with the further provisions of this Privacy Statement.
We rely on the following legal bases, under applicable data protection laws, to process your personal information:
- Because the processing is necessary to perform a contract with you or take steps prior to entering into a contract with you (e.g. where you have made a purchase with us, we use your personal information to process the payment and fulfil your order).
- Because it is in the legitimate interests of RS, you and/or your company (e.g. where you are submitting orders on your company’s behalf).
- Because we have obtained your consent (e.g. where you contact us with a query, where you add optional information to your account profile, or if you consent to receive marketing from us).
Because it is in RS’ legitimate interests as an e-commerce provider to maintain and promote our services. We are always seeking to understand more about our customers in order to offer the best products and customer experience. We use information about you to tailor your view of RS Online, to make it more interesting and relevant in respect of the products and offers on view.
Compulsory Personal Information and consequences of not sharing with us.
Where RS is required to process certain Personal Information by law, or in terms of a contract that we have with you, and you fail to provide such Personal Information when requested to do so, RS may be unable to perform in terms of the contract we have in place or are trying to enter into with you. In this case, RS may be required to terminate the contract and/or relationship, upon notification to you, which termination will be done in accordance with the terms of the contract and all applicable legislation.
With whom does RS share my information?
RS South Africa will not intentionally disclose your Personal Information, whether for commercial gain or otherwise, other than with your permission and as permitted by applicable law, or in the manner set out in this Privacy Statement.
RS South Africa may share your personal information with certain selected third parties in order to operate our business:
• RS Group: RS South Africa is a member of a world-wide group of companies, of which RS Group Plc is the parent company. For full details of the RS Group of companies, please visit www.rsgroup.com. RS shares personal information with other members of the RS Group as necessary to support our services and to improve our customer insights. RS will ensure that the RS Group have agreed to be bound by this Privacy Statement or similar terms, which offer the same level of protection as this Privacy Statement.
• Employees, Suppliers, Service Providers, Contractors and Agents: We provide Personal Information if and to the extent that they require such Personal Information in the provision of services for or to us (for example in respect of companies that provide digital marketing services like product recommendation, statistical analysis, business & operational insight, website optimization), as well as to those third parties involved in the delivery chain (for example freight forwarders, couriers and delivery companies). On occasion, we may also share your Personal Information with our professional and legal advisors. RS will authorise any Personal Information processing done by a third party on our behalf, amongst other things by entering into written agreements with those third parties governing our relationships with them and containing confidentiality and non-disclosure provisions.
• Government Authorities: Where you order is due for delivery outside South Africa, we may need to share your personal information with customs authorities both in South Africa and in the country of destination. We may also share your personal information with law enforcement or other governmental authority, e.g. to report a fraud or in response to a lawful request or pursuant to applicable laws that require us to disclose this information.
• Credit & Fraud Checking: We may share your personal information with credit reference agencies and with third parties engaged in fraud prevention and detection.
• Media: From time to time, we may release aggregated and anonymised marketing statistics to business partners, or may use these in press releases, advertising, or published reports. We would only personally identify you or any other customer in such press releases, advertising, or reports with your prior consent.
• Business or Asset Sale: In the event that we sell any business assets, the personal information of our customers may be disclosed to a potential buyer. In this event, we will make reasonable attempts to ensure the buyer will be bound by the terms of this privacy statement.
RS may also disclose your personal information in cases where we believe the disclosure is necessary to protect the rights, property or personal safety of RS, you, our other customers, employees or the public, or where we are otherwise legally permitted to do so.
In each instance set out above, and where applicable, RS will take all reasonable steps to ensure that your personal information is treated securely by the relevant third party and in accordance with the principles contained in this Statement.
Storage and Transfer of your Personal Information
We may store your Personal Information on our servers or those of our service providers and/or in hard copy format at our offices and/or at the storage facilities of our third-party record storage and management service providers.
We reserve the right to transfer to and/or store your Personal Information on servers in a jurisdiction other than where it was collected, or outside of South Africa in a jurisdiction that may not have comparable data protection legislation.
RS South Africa forms part of RS Group Plc, which is a global group of companies, and RS also uses service providers based around the world. Consequently, your personal information may be processed in countries outside of South Africa, including in countries where you may have fewer legal rights in respect of your information than you do under the laws of South Africa. If we transfer your personal information outside South Africa we will, as required by applicable law, take reasonably practicable steps, including the imposition of appropriate contractual terms, to ensure that your Personal Information is adequately protected in that jurisdiction. Please contact us if you would like more information about these safeguards.
In order to determine the appropriate retention period for Personal Information, RS will consider, among other things, the nature and sensitivity of the Personal Information, the potential risks or harm that may result from its unauthorised use or disclosure, the purposes for which we process it and whether those purposes may be achieved through other means. RS will always comply with applicable legal, regulatory, tax, accounting or other requirements as they pertain to the retention of Personal Information.
Where we no longer have a need to keep your information, we will delete it, unless we are required or permitted to retain that information in terms of applicable law. Please note that where you unsubscribe from our marketing communications, we will keep a record of your email address to ensure we do not send you marketing emails in future.
What does RS do to protect my personal information?
RS South Africa always aim to deliver the highest level of service and security to our customers and RS Online has been specifically designed with security in mind.
In order to ensure the security and protection of your personal information whenever you submit any sensitive information such as credit card number and account details, we use the following security methods:
• 128 bit Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption - which is technology to encode and protect your information.
• The RS VeriSign Security Guarantee pops up whenever you submit sensitive information as an indication that the current information will be encrypted. This means that your information is protected and safe to submit.
• Sensitive credit card information stored on our in-house systems is also held in encrypted format.
• Your RS Online Account Information and RS Online Personal Profile are password-protected. You may edit your RS Online Account Information and RS Online Personal Profile by using your RS Online user name and password and by clicking on the Update My Details button on your home page navigation bar. We recommend that you do not divulge your password to anyone. We will never ask you for your password in an unsolicited phone call or in an unsolicited email.
From time to time, we review our information collection, storage and processing practices, including physical security measures, to keep up to date with good practice.
Even by taking the above measures when processing personal information, we do not guarantee that your Personal Information is 100% secure.
How does RS use my personal information for marketing?
Unless you opted-out during your account registration and purchase, RS may send you emails, call or text you regarding RS products and services. In addition, we may occasionally send you direct mail about products that we feel may be of interest to you if you have consented to this. It is likely that some or all of these marketing messages may be tailored to you, based on what we know about you and/or your company, for example from your Online Personal Profile, your previous searches and browsing history on RS Online, and your purchase activity.
You may however opt-out, refuse to accept, require us to discontinue, or pre-emptively block any approach or communications from us if that approach or communications is primarily for the purpose of direct marketing. If you no longer want to hear from us, you can opt-out from receiving direct marketing messages from us at any time by:
• editing your preferences in the 'My Profile Update Details' area of My Account, which you can access anytime through the link in the navigation bar.
• unsubscribing from emails by clicking on the link in each email
• emailing us at: email@example.com
If you have chosen to opt-out, refuse to accept, require us to discontinue, or pre-emptively block any approach or communications from us, we may send you written confirmation of receipt of your opt out request (which may be in electronic form), and will thereafter not send any further direct marketing communication to you. Please note that you may continue to receive communications from RS that is not marketing related.
You may also see adverts for RS on third party websites, including on social media. These adverts may be tailored to you using cookies (which track your web activity, to enable us to serve adverts to customers who have visited RS Online). Where you see an ad on social media, this may be because we have engaged the social network to show adverts to our customers, or users who match the demographic profile of our customers. In some cases, this may involve sharing your email address with the social network. If you no longer want to see tailored ads you can change your cookie and privacy settings on your browser and these third-party websites.
This Privacy Statement does not apply to the websites of any other parties, or the applications, products or services, such websites advertise, and which may be linked to RS Online, or websites that link or advertise RS Online. RS is not responsible for the privacy practices of such third-party websites. We advise that you read the privacy policies of each third-party website and decide whether you agree to their privacy practices and policies, as these third-party websites may also be collecting or sharing your Personal Information.
How can I access, update, correct or delete my personal information?
You can view and edit your Personal Profile information at any time by clicking on the 'My Profile -Update Details' section in My Account, which you can access anytime through the link in the navigation bar. You must let us know if any personal information we have about you is incorrect, incomplete, misleading or out of date, or you may choose to update it on RS Online to correct the personal information.
If you have forgotten your password, or have any other problems accessing RS Online, please contact RS Customer Services on +27 11 691 9300.
If you have a query regarding your personal information which you cannot resolve via your Online Personal Profile, please contact us using the details below. Under South African data protection law, you have the right to access, correct, object to our processing of, or request the erasure of, your personal information, and RS will comply with any requests to exercise these rights in accordance with applicable law. Please be aware, however, that there are a number of limitations to these rights, and there may be circumstances where we are not able to comply with your request.
RS may from time to time, target certain RS' products at children (a natural person under the age of 18 years). RS will however not sell any RS products directly to children and will not knowingly collect Personal Information in respect of children without express permission to do so from a competent person (any person who is legally competent to consent to any action or decision being taken in respect of any matter concerning a child).
For questions regarding this privacy statement or how we use your personal information, please email POPIA@rs-components.com
You are also entitled to contact the Information Regulator if you have any questions or concerns regarding your personal information by accessing their website at www.justice.gov.za/inforeg.
Updates to this Privacy Statement
We may change this privacy statement from time to time in order to reflect changes in the law, regulatory guidance or our data privacy practices in compliance with the law. When this happens and where required by law, we will provide you with a new or an updated statement detailing how the use of your personal information is changing and, if required by applicable laws, obtain your consent for the further processing.
If you do not agree to the changes to this privacy statement, we may be unable to perform in terms of the contract we have in place with you. In this case, RS may be required to terminate the contract and/or relationship, upon notification to you and/or may request that you end your use of the RS Online site.
Consumer Protection Act and the Protection of Personal Information Act
If any part of this privacy statement is regulated by or subject to the Consumer Protection Act, No 68 of 2008 ("CPA") or the Protection of Personal Information Act, No. 4 of 2013 ("POPI"), it is not intended that any part of this privacy statement contravenes any provision of the CPA or POPI. Therefore all provisions of this privacy statement must be treated as being qualified, to the extent necessary, to ensure that the provisions of the CPA and POPI are complied with.
No provision of this privacy statement (or any contract governed by this privacy statement):
• does or purports to limit or exempt us or any person or entity from any liability (including, without limitation, for any loss directly or indirectly attributable to our gross negligence or wilful default or that of any other person acting for or controlled by us) to the extent that the law does not allow such a limitation or exemption;
• requires you to assume risk or liability for the kind of liability or loss, to the extent that the law does not allow such an assumption of risk or liability; or
• limits or excludes any warranties or obligations which are implied into this Privacy Statement (or any contract governed by this privacy statement) by the CPA or POPI (to the extent they are applicable) or which we give under the CPA or POPI (to the extent they are applicable), to the extent that the law does not allow them to be limited or excluded.
You agree that this Privacy Statement, our relationship and any dispute of whatsoever nature relating to or arising out of this Privacy Statement whether directly or indirectly is governed by South African law, without giving effect to any principle of conflict of laws.
Our failure to exercise or enforce any right or provisions of this Privacy Statement shall not constitute a waiver of such right or provision.
Each provision of this Privacy Statement, and each part of any provision, is removable and detachable from the others. As far as the law allows, if any provision (or part of a provision) of this Privacy Statement is found by a court or authority of competent jurisdiction to be illegal, invalid or unenforceable (including without limitation, because it is not consistent with the laws of another jurisdiction), it must be treated as if it was not included in this Privacy Statement and the rest of this Privacy Statement will still be valid and enforceable.
This Privacy Statement was last updated in December 2022.