mountain connections logo
America's #1 Source for Mountain Homes and Land
mountain lake home view
grandfather mountain north carolina mountain golf

Privacy Statement

MountainConnections.com PRIVACY POLICY effective May 26, 2005

This privacy policy applies to http://www.mountainconnections.com and all websites and URL's controlled or operated by Mountain Connections, which link to this policy, unless otherwise specified.

This is a new privacy policy effective as of the date set forth above. Even if you read and approved a prior policy, you need to review this new version as it has been updated and revised.

Titles and headings are provided for general reference and ease of use only, as information may be covered in more than one heading or under other headings.

If users have questions or concerns regarding this statement, they should first contact MountainConnections.com's privacy department at privacy [at] mountainconnections.com.

Information Collection

Registration and Service Professional Enrollment
In order to complete a service request or to enroll as a prospective service professional, a user must first complete a registration form. During registration a user is required to give contact information (such as name and email address). We use this information to contact the user about services on our site for which they have expressed interest, to inform service professionals of leads, and/or inform customers about service professionals they matched to. By providing this information to us, or by submitting a service request, you expressly consent to being contacted by us and by our service professionals and providers via phone, fax, email, mail or other reasonable means, at any of your contact numbers or addresses, in order that we may provide the services set forth on our Web site, service your account, reasonably address matters pertaining to your account or for other reasonable purposes related to our business. Unique identifiers (such as username and password) are required. Except in the case of lending services, it is optional for the user to provide demographic information (such as income level and gender) but encouraged so we can provide a more personalized experience on our Web site. We also require a service professional's social security number or federal tax id number to complete a background check (credit is not checked), prior to a service professional being approved to join our network.

Service Request
We request information from the consumer in our service request interview process. A user must provide detailed information about the service requested. Except in the case of lending services, no financial information (such as credit card number, expiration date) is collected from the consumer. This information is used to match consumers with appropriate service professionals. The information may also be used to contact the consumer to verify or clarify their service request or to customize the consumer's Web site experience or future MountainConnections.com communication.

Feedback, Ratings and Reviews and Testimonials
Additionally, we collect feedback from users (called ratings and reviews) about the performance of Service Professional's who work for them. We also collect general feedback and testimonials from users of our service and system. By providing such feedback to us, you consent to our use, publication and/or distribution of such feedback at no compensation to you, and if you are a Service Professional in our system, you consent to the publication of ratings and reviews about you and your business.

Information Use

Profile
We store information that we collect through the Web site experience and activities, cookies, log files, clear gifs, and/or third parties to create a profile of our users. A profile is stored information that we keep on individual users that detail their viewing preferences, activities and interactions with MountainConnections.com. Consequently, collected information is tied to the user's personally identifiable information to provide offers and improve the content of the site for the user. This profile is used to tailor a user's visit to our Web site and to direct pertinent marketing promotions and communications to them.

Cookies
A cookie is a piece of data tied to information about the user and stored on the user's computer. We use both session cookies, which terminate when a user closes his browser, and persistent cookies, which remain on the user's computer until manually deleted.

By setting a persistent cookie, we enable our users to not have to log in with a password more than once, thereby saving time while on our Web site. If users reject these cookies, they may still use our Web site. The only drawback to this is that the experience and/or access of a user may be limited in some areas of our Web site. For example, the user may not be able to participate in any of our sweepstakes, contests or monthly drawings that may take place. See the "Profile" section.

Third Party Advertising
Some of our business partners may use cookies on our Web site (for example, advertisers). We have no access or control over these cookies once our business partners have been given permission to set cookies. This privacy statement covers the use of cookies by MountainConnections.com only and does not cover the use of cookies by any advertisers.

Log Files
Like most standard Web site servers we use log files. This includes internet protocol (IP) addresses, browser type, internet service provider (ISP), referring/exit pages, platform type, date/time stamp, and number of clicks to analyze trends, administer the Web site, track user's movement in the aggregate, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses, etc. are not linked to personally identifiable information.

Clear Gifs (Web Beacons/Web Bugs)
We employ and/or our third party advertisers employ a software technology called clear gifs (a.k.a. Web Beacons/Web Bugs), that help us better manage content on our site and marketing campaigns by informing us what content and which campaigns are effective. Clear gifs are tiny graphics, about the size of a period at the end of a sentence, with a unique identifier. Clear gifs are similar in function to cookies and are used to track the online movements of Web users.

Clear Gifs can "work with" existing cookies on a computer if they are both from the same Web site or advertising company. That means, for example, that if a person visited "www.companyX.com", which uses an advertising company's clear gif, the Web site or advertising company would match the clear gif's identifier and the advertising company's cookie ID number, to show the past online behavior for that computer. This collected information would then be given to the advertising company or Web site. To learn more about our advertising partners' use of clear gifs, please contact us at privacy [at] mountainconnections.com.

In addition, MountainConnections.com and its advertisers use clear gifs in HTML-based emails. This allows us to gauge the effectiveness of certain communications and the effectiveness of our marketing campaigns by showing how may emails have been opened by the recipients. If users would like to opt-out of these emails, please see the Opt-out section.

Communications from MountainConnections.com and its Service Providers

Special Offers and Updates
We send all new members a welcoming email to verify password and username. Established members will occasionally receive information on products, services, special deals, and a bi-monthly newsletter. Out of respect for the privacy of our users we present the option to not receive these types of communications. Please see the Choice and Opt-out sections.

Newsletter
If a user wishes to subscribe to our newsletters, we ask for contact information such as name and email address. Out of respect for our users privacy we provide a way to opt-out of these communications. Please see the Choice and Opt-out sections.

Service Announcements
On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Leads Notifications and Trial Lead Notifications
If a user either signs up for our trial program or joins our service professional network, and elects to receive their leads via email, that user will receive multiple communications from us. Members of our service professional network (or prospective members enrolled in Free Trial) can designate and opt-in on our Web site or by contacting customer service to receive leads in one or more of these formats.

Customer Service
We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regards to issues relating to their account via email, fax, phone or mail, and we reply to user inquiries via email or phone, or other reasonable means, in accordance with the user's wishes where applicable.

Sharing Information to Provide Services and to Conduct Our Business

When you submit information to MountainConnections.com, you authorize us to share this information with our network of service professionals and partners in order to try to provide the services you request. For example, when an approved member of our service professional network accepts a lead from a registered user, and that user indicates what personal information they are willing to share so that the service professional can contact the user, such as telephone numbers, physical addresses and email addresses, that information is shared with our service professionals who have accepted a service request lead. In addition, we have other approved contractual partners that fulfill services requests, or that utilize their own service professionals to supplement our network, and we share your information with them under contractual restrictions in order to attempt to provide the services requested. If using our services pursuant to a membership with one of our partners, MountainConnections.com may share your service request activity information with such partner in certain circumstances. We may also post and publish ratings and reviews of Service Professionals' performance, as well as feedback and testimonials at our sole discretion. We may also release information to collection and/or credit agencies for past due service professional accounts.

Though we strive to preserve user privacy, due to the existing regulatory environment, we cannot ensure that all of your private communications and other personal information will never be disclosed in ways not otherwise described in the Privacy Policy. By way of example, we may disclose personal information when required by law wherein we have a belief that such action is necessary or advisable to comply with a current judicial proceeding, a court order, legal proceeding, process or investigation served on our business or Web site(s), or when we believe parties are misusing or attempting to misuse our Web sites or services, including but not limited to violating the law, committing fraud, deception, theft, attempting to harm or divert our business, engaging in threatening or inappropriate behavior or threatening to place, or placing themselves or others in danger. You should also be aware that courts of equity, such as U.S. Bankruptcy Courts, may have the authority under certain circumstances to permit your information to be shared or transferred to third parties. Finally, although we strive to protect your privacy, third parties beyond our control may unlawfully intercept or access transmissions or private communications. Therefore, we do not promise, and you should not expect, that your personal information or private communications will always remain private.

Aggregate Information (non-personally identifiable)
MountainConnections.com may share aggregated activity or statistical information with partners, advertisers or others, but that information that does not contain personally identifiable information.

Business Transitions
In the event MountainConnections.com goes through a business transition such as a merger, being acquired by another company, or selling a portion of its assets, users' personal information will, in most instances, be part of the assets transferred. See also, section entitled "Changes and updates to this policy…" set forth below.

Choice/Opt-out
Our users are given the opportunity to 'opt-out' of having their information used for purposes not directly related to our Web site at the point where we ask for information. For example, our service request form has an 'opt-out' mechanism so users who submit a service request from us, but don't want any marketing material, can keep their email address off of our lists.

Users who no longer wish to receive our newsletter and promotional communications may opt-out of receiving these communications by replying to unsubscribe in the email or email us at customerservice [at] mountainconnections.com.

Users of our Web site are always notified when their information is being collected by any outside parties. We do this so our users can make an informed choice as to whether or not they should proceed with services that require an outside party.

Background Checks
To determine if users qualify for membership in our service professional network, we use their name, company name and/or social security number or federal tax id number to request a background check. This information is viewable only by the appropriate personnel. MountainConnections.com may check for bankruptcies, liens, civil judgments and/or criminal activity for the individuals listed with an account, as well as for the company or business entity requesting membership. In addition, MountainConnections.com will verify that a service professional has the proper certifications and licenses mandated by the state(s) the service professional operates in by utilizing one or more third party verifications systems. We also may verify and validate the existence of certain business insurance policies as we require for membership via your insurance provider and / or broker.

Links and Integrated Partnerships
This Web site contains links from and to other Web sites. Please be aware that MountainConnections.com is not responsible for the privacy practices of such other Web sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our Web site and to read the privacy statements of each and every Web site that collects personally identifiable information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site. On occasion, a partner Web site will employ our matching engine in a co-branded format. A co-branded web page includes both the MountainConnections.com logo and/or URL and the partner sites logo and/or URL, but does not appear to be part of the MountainConnections.com Web site.

With some partners, MountainConnections.com receives information concerning the service requested by a consumer including personal or contact information that is inputted on a partner Web site. This information is sent from the partner to us either in a batched format, or via Internet technology such as XML, FTP or HTTP Post. In any case, this information may or may not be encrypted by the partner. With other partners, MountainConnections.com may provide information concerning a consumer's service request, including contact information to other partners to provide services.

Surveys & Contests
From time-to-time, MountainConnections.com may request information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose this information. The requested information typically includes contact information (such as name and mailing address), and demographic information (such as zip code). Contact information will be shared with the contest or survey sponsors (if MountainConnections.com elects to utilize an outside promotions or survey company) to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the use and satisfaction of our services and this Web site. Though we may use an intermediary to conduct these surveys or contests, they may not use users' personally identifiable information for other secondary purposes unless specified.

Tell-A-Friend
If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our Web site, we ask them for the friend's name and email address. MountainConnections.com will automatically send the friend a one-time email inviting them to visit the Web site. MountainConnections.com stores this information for the sole purpose of sending this one-time email and tracking the success of our referral program. The friend may contact MountainConnections.com at privacy [at] mountainconnections.com to request the removal of this information from our database.

Security
While we employ several different security techniques, "perfect security" does not exist on the Internet and we do not guarantee security of information or that unauthorized access will not occur.

Servers that store personally identifiable information are in a supervised and/or locked facility. While on certain pages, such as our order form, the lock icon on the bottom of Web browsers such as Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer becomes locked, as opposed to un-locked, or open, when users are just 'surfing'.

Users' personal information off line is restricted by procedures and authorized access to workers who reasonably need the information for their areas of responsibility (for example, a billing clerk, a sales rep, a customer service representative or management).

If users have any questions about the security at our Web site, users can send an email to privacy [at] mountainconnections.com.

Verification and Supplementation of Information
In order for us to better conduct our business it is sometimes advisable or necessary for us to verify and/or supplement the information we receive with information from 3rd party sources.

Enhancement of Marketing Profile
Occasionally, we purchase third party marketing data and add it to our existing user database to better target our advertising and provide pertinent offers we think our users would be interested in. We use this information to enhance or overlay the 'profile' of individual users. This aggregate marketing data is therefore tied to the users' personally identifiable information. See also the "Profile."

Correcting/Updating/Deleting/Deactivating Personal Information
If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as zip code, phone, email or postal address), or if a user no longer desires our service, we provide a means to correct, update or delete/deactivate users' personally identifiable information. This can be done by emailing our Customer Support at customerservice [at] MountainConnections.com. Or, contact us by telephone or postal mail at the contact information listed below.

Changes and Updates to This Policy and to MountainConnections.com Services, Products and Functionality of Web Site(s)
We reserve the right to change our information, features, services, products, policies, promotions, disclosures and disclaimers at any time. Changes to this Policy will be in writing and be posted on our Web site as applicable. Please check these terms periodically for changes. At the top of the policy we indicate the date of an update. The continued use of any MountainConnections.com services or of the applicable MountainConnections.com affiliated web sites following the posting of changes to these terms will mean you accept those changes.

Contact Information

If users have any questions or suggestions regarding our privacy policy, please contact us at:
Mountain Connections
MountainConnections.com
PO Box 5352
Lakeland, FL 33807-5352

(800) 704-4598 Toll Free
privacy [at] mountainconnections.com