(last updated 7/25/18)
Essential information we collect
In operating our store, it is essential for us to capture some information about your device, such as your IP address and information related to your visit when you browse our store. For example, this might include time-stamp, the last page or product you visited, or the indication that you logged in. We do that in order to:
- remember who you are after you log in so that you do not need to authenticate at each click;
- remember if you put something in your shopping cart before you decide to checkout;
- let you browse between products without having to start back from the home page at each click;
- control that your data is processed securely; and
- monitor if our website is running with the high performance we are dedicated to providing.
Order information you expressly provide
If you buy something from our store, we will need more specific information about you. To fully process your order and ship the merchandise you selected, we need your personal data such as your first and last name, your email address and your shipping and billing address. We also use your contact and order information to send you communication related to the processing of your order. We will ask you to provide this information in our “checkout page” before letting you finalize your purchase with the payment.
You can sign up for an account if you’d like. This will make us happy because it confirms your interest in our store. It should also make you happy because we will remember your information and, when you decide to buy our products, you do not have to provide all of your information over again -- you just have to log-in. It also gives you access to additional features of our website, such as wishlists, customizable kits, and easy access to your past orders. We also give you the option of deleting your account. Just connect with us at [email protected] if for any reason you would like to do this.
If you have started to buy one of our products, but have not completed the purchase, you may have provided partial information, such as your email. In that case, we might send you an email to remind you about your interest in shopping with us. If you are not comfortable in receiving further emails of this kind, we will give you a simple opportunity to opt-out. Your privacy means a lot to us and we will stop sending you these communications right away.
If you have completed a purchase, we will send you an email to ask you to review one of the products you bought. We want to be sure that whether you love your purchase or have a complaint, you can share your opinion with other customers. Again, you may opt-out of these emails if you would prefer not to receive them again.
We also use some specific information related to your visit, such as the timestamp of your visit, the page or the product you viewed, where you are coming from (if you came to our store because you clicked on an advertisement or you just opened our direct link). This is very similar to the “essential information,” but we use it to provide you with a personalized experience. The information on your visit provides us with insights on your interests and allows us to send you relevant communications. If you have answered the question, “Which option best describes you?” for us, we will use that information to send you emails or provide a website experience that is specially tailored to your expressed interests.
Newsletter and other emails
If you visit our site or complete a purchase with us, you will have the opportunity to opt-in to get other emails from us. When you opt in, we’ll send you a series of messages to welcome you and tell you a bit more about our company, what’s important to us, and a bit about our products and services. When that series is complete, we will begin sending you regular messages to alert you to new content, products, promotions, or other information we think would interest you. At any time, you will be able to select how often you want to hear from us, specify what type of messages most interest you, or opt-out and stop receiving these messages.
If you complete a purchase with us (or if you request one), we may use your mailing address to send you a print catalog in the future. If we do, we will use a third party service provider to validate your address, print labels, and mail the catalog to you.
How do we process your information?
We use an external provider to run our store, BigCommerce. BigCommerce is based in the US and is a participant in the EU-US Privacy Shield Framework and committed to providing best-in-class service and data protection. You can check its participation in the Privacy Shield here on the official site of The International Trade Administration (ITA), U.S. Department of Commerce.
Through BigCommerce, we also use other, highly specialized external providers to provide the most competitive services. We do need to pass your information to them in varying degrees so that they can help us provide these services. For example:
- Payment: Our store is PCI-DSS compliant (a very strict industry standard with requirements for the security of credit card information), but we also use accredited companies to process your payment information. Our primary provider for credit card transactions is Authorize.net, but we also have additional payment options through Paypal and Apple Pay. Each of these companies follow strict requirements for keeping your payment data safe. If you are shipping your order outside the US, we use a company called Zonos to process your payment information.
- Shipping: We integrate with a number of shipping companies to fulfill your orders. Our connections to UPS and USPS allow us to take the address information you give us and provide real-time estimates of the cost, time, and options for getting a package to your doorstep. And once you have completed your order, we will send the necessary information to them to get the package into their system so that you can track it and see when you will receive the shipment.
- Email: We use a company to manage the list of people who have opted in to our emails, and they keep the information needed to create and send the various kinds of emails described earlier.
- Rewards/Loyalty program: We also use a third party loyalty program to provide special functionality to give you various benefits as you make purchases and take other actions.
- Remarketing/Targeted Advertising: We also use third party tools to provide us with the ability to remind you of your interest in products you have viewed on our website in the days after you visited us. These reminders may show up on other websites or social media platforms. We may also display targeted ads to you on social media platforms. These ads are sent to groups of people who share common demographics or interests, like an interest in science or education. Please see the policies of the social media platforms for details on these types of ads.
- Analytics: We constantly want to be improving the quality of our site and the services we provide, so we use several tools (like Google Analytics) to track customer behavior as well as site performance. We use this to understand how customers (like you) use our site, which helps us to find issues with the site, and then fix them for the benefit of future customers.
- Surveys: We also may request that you complete a survey to give us feedback on some aspect of your experience with us. On most surveys, we ask you give us your email address so that we can follow up to answer a question, resolve an issue or make it right if we’ve failed in some way. Giving us your email on a survey is optional, so you have the ability to give anonymous feedback if desired.
Partnering with highly specialized external companies like these allows us to focus on what we do best: sell great science products and provide superior customer service.
Internal disclosure of your personal data
We have also partnered with Science Buddies to provide hands-on science resources. If you order a licensed Science Buddies kit, we will share your basic customer information with Science Buddies.
To make sure your personal information remains confidential, we communicate these privacy guidelines to every Home Science Tools employee.
We take many steps and precautions to safeguard the security of the data you send us with physical, technical, and internal management policies and procedures. When we collect or transmit sensitive information such as a credit card number, we use industry standard methods to protect that information. Plus, we do not store credit card data at all. However, despite our best efforts, no website or ecommerce solution is completely ‘hack-proof’. You also need to be responsible for taking reasonable steps to protect your personal information.
Children’s Personal Information
As much as we love to see children inspired to learn through hands-on science, we also recognize the importance of protecting their privacy. We do not knowingly solicit personal information from children under the age of 13 or send them requests for personal information. If a child has provided us with his/her personal information online, please have a parent or guardian call us at 800-860-6272.
For EU Customers: How can you control your personal data?
If you are one of our customers who is in the EU, you have specific rights that we are honored to enforce without undue delay. In plain terms, this means you have the right to:
- Know what information we maintain about you
- Request that incorrect, incomplete, or out of date information be corrected/updated
- Request that your personal information be deleted (though this could impact your ability to use some of our services)
- Be provided a copy of your personal information on file upon request
- Object to the processing of your personal information
If you are unable to do these yourself on our website, please reach out to us, at [email protected] and we will be more than happy to help. And really, that applies even if you don’t live in the EU – we want you to have ultimate control over your personal data.
How long do we keep your data?
At the very least, we keep your data for as long as you have an account with us. We may also keep your data beyond that for historical records. We also keep some data for security investigation. Most importantly, we have specific obligations for fraud detection and tax reasons. Therefore, we might need to retain certain data even if you ask to delete it.
Do we have any legal obligations when handling your data?
Yes, we do. We might need to share your personal information when we believe disclosure is needed to comply with the law; when we need to enforce other applicable terms and conditions or agreements; when we might need to finance, secure, insure, sell, or dispose all or a portion of the business; or to protect the rights or safety of our company, our customers, or others.
Who can you reach out to for privacy matters?
Just get in touch with us at [email protected] and we’ll connect you with a staff member who can help you with issues related to Data Privacy.
Do you need to lodge a complaint?
If you have any privacy complaint, you have the right to lodge a complaint with our supervisory authority, which in the US is generally considered to be the Federal Trade Commission.
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