International Pen Friends (IPF) - Privacy Policy

Protecting Your Privacy

Pen Pals Globe

IPF's mission has always been to provide members with a high quality pen friend service. This includes protecting their privacy. Throughout cyberspace and beyond, we are committed to providing a secure and safe environment for our members' information.

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


IPF was founded in 1967 in Dublin, Ireland by Neil O' Donnell and provides a range of pen friend services to people aged from 8-80+ years worldwide. On 1 February 2001 IPF was relocated to Australia when Neil retired. IPF was taken over by Julie Delbridge who shares Neil's passion for the pen friend experience, first joining IPF as a member in 1979 and working in various capacities as an IPF Agent in Australia since 1982. Julie is now the President of IPF. IPF is privately owned by Julie Delbridge and is a registered business in Australia. International Pen Friends (IPF) is a registered trademark. All of IPF's logos, drawings and photos are protected by copyright law.

How IPF Collects Your Personal Information

IPF 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 email, or in writing, or when you submit your personal information to us through our websites.
  • IPF has a worldwide network of agents who are responsible for promoting IPF and recruiting members. Agents forward personal information relating to the members they recruit to IPF's Head Office in Australia. All applications are processed through the computer database at IPF's Head Office in Australia. Agents do not have access to the IPF Head Office database and all agents are instructed to protect the privacy of the customers and members they are dealing with. Please contact us if you would like to verify that the agent you are dealing with is a registered IPF agent. For the safety and security of all our members, IPF's database is not connected to the internet.

How we use Your Personal Information

The information you provide to us is collected by IPF 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 IPF, you are provided with an individual list of between 4-14 IPF members in your age group who we have matched as closely as possible according to your hobbies and interests. As IPF is a pen friend 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 members 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, our C5 adult individual service provides 14 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 10-14 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. Members who join our other services have their name circulated 14 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 write to each other and disclose whatever information you feel appropriate.

Currently, we do not show email addresses on pen friend lists, but we may provide that information in the future. We encourage members to write to each other and exchange email addresses. This ensures that members are provided with accurate and up-to-date email addresses.

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.

If you are a member of IPF, 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 experience and which we think you might find interesting. This would always be done with discretion. IPF does not 'spam' customers or members. 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 this document).

IPF does not sell or rent its database or any information collected through the internet to other organisations. If this option was ever to be considered, IPF would first contact you and give you the opportunity to decline.

Security of Your Personal Information

To help protect your personal information against unauthorised access and hacking, IPF's membership database is specifically not connected to the internet. The only people who can access IPF's membership database are authorised IPF Head Office staff members. This is a safety and security feature of IPF's service.

Help us Ensure we Hold Accurate Information

IPF 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 your 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.


Please send an email or write to us at the address shown below.

Due to the large number of potential members and actual members we have and the high cost of international telephone calls, we no longer communicate by telephone. All communication to IPF's Head Office should be in the English language.

International Pen Friends (IPF) - Head Office

Julie Delbridge
International Pen Friends (IPF)
PO Box 430
Paynesville VIC 3880