Protecting Your Privacy

The mission of International Pen Friends has always been to provide members with a high quality pen friend service. This includes protecting their privacy. IPF is also bound by new sections of the Commonwealth Privacy Act 1988, which sets out a number of principles concerning the protection of personal information.

The purpose of this document is to provide information on how IPF collects, uses and discloses your personal information.

International Pen Friends (IPF)

International Pen Friends was founded in 1967 in Dublin, Ireland by Neil O´Donnell and provides a range of penfriend services to members worldwide. On 1 February 2001 IPF was relocated to Australia under Julie Delbridge´s leadership. IPF is privately owned and registered in Australia, ABN 80 070 592 343.

How we Collect Your Personal Information

International Pen Friends collects your personal information in the following way:

  • directly from you, when you complete the IPF application form, or when you provide information by phone, or e-mail, or fax, or in writing, or when you submit your personal information to us through our web sites.

International Pen Friends has a worldwide network of agents who are responsible for promoting and recruiting members. Agents forward personal information relating to the members they recruit to IPF´s Head Office in Australia where all applications are processed through the computer database. All agents are instructed to follow IPF´s Privacy Policy and do not have access to the Head Office database.

How we use Your Personal Information

The information you provide to us is collected by International Pen Friends for the purpose of answering your enquiry, or processing your application to provide you with pen friends, together with any other services you request. The provision of the information requested is voluntary. However, if you choose not to provide us with the information we request from you, we may not be able to provide you with the services you require.

Our pen friend service operates in two parts:

  1. After you join International Pen Friends, you are provided with an individual list of IPF members in your age group who we have matched as closely as possible according to your hobbies and interests. As International Pen Friends is a penfriend club, not a matrimonial or dating agency, the only information we ask you to provide is shown on the application form. We do not match penfriends according to more in-depth personal information. We always try to match your country requests, but if there are requests we cannot meet, then we will provide you with pen friends from other countries.

    The number of names on your list depends on the service you join under. For example, our school class services provide 4 names; We may decide to slightly increase the number of names on your list to provide you with an opportunity to gain extra pen friends.

  2. During the 12 months of your membership, your name is also circulated to others IPF members worldwide whose names do not appear on your pen friend list. The number of times your name is circulated to other members depends on the service you join under. For example, members who join our school class services have their name circulated 10 times. We may decide to slightly increase the number of times your name is circulated to other members to provide you with the opportunity to gain extra pen friends.

In providing our pen friend service, your information is only disclosed to the IPF members who receive you on their pen friend list, as mentioned above. The only information we disclose to those members is your name, address, languages spoken and if you selected stamp collecting as one of your hobbies. This is also the only information you will receive about the IPF members who appear on your pen friend list. As pen friends, you can disclose to each other whatever information you feel appropriate.

Currently, we do not show e-mail addresses on pen friend lists, but we may provide that information in the future.

All IPF members are instructed not to pass the details on their pen friend list to anyone else.

For the purposes of providing or improving our services, we may disclose your personal information to organisations outside IPF, for example, information technology installation and maintenance services. IPF would only contract reputable organisations that have a serious commitment to privacy.

Your personal information may also be used by us from time to time to keep you informed about our products, services, offers and upcoming events, or those of other reputable organisations whose products or services are relevant to the pen friend hobby and which we think you might find interesting.

If you do not wish us to contact you for marketing purposes, please inform our Privacy Manager (contact details are shown at the end of the page).

International Pen Friends would not rent or sell your personal information to a third party organisation without first contacting you to give you the opportunity to decline.

Security of Your Personal Information

To protect your personal information against unauthorised access, IPF´s membership database is located on a computer that is not connected to the Internet.

Help us Ensure we Hold Accurate Information

International Pen Friends takes all reasonable precautions to ensure the personal information we collect, use and disclose is accurate, complete and up-to-date. However, the accuracy of the information we hold depends to a large extent on the information you provide. That´s why we recommend that you:

  • let us know if there are any errors in your personal information;
  • keep us up-to-date with changes to personal information such as you name and address; and
  • advise us if you have enough pen friends.

You can Access Your Personal Information

You have a right to access your personal information, subject to some exceptions allowed by law. If you would like to do so, please let us know. You may be required to put your request in writing for security reasons. IPF reserves the right to charge a fee for searching for, and providing access to your information.

How to Contact us

If you live in Australia and have any questions in relation to privacy, please telephone us between 9.00 am and 5.00 pm (Australian EST), Monday to Friday on (03) 5156 1144. Alternatively, you can write to: Privacy Manager, International Pen Friends, P.O.Box 430, Paynesville VIC 3880, Australia, or fax (03) 5156 1143, or e-mail:

If you do not live in Australia, please contact us at the above address or e-mail address, clearly stating your name, address and membership number (if you are an IPF member). Due to the high cost of international telephone calls, we cannot return calls from outside of Australia. All communication to IPF´s Head Office should be in the English language.