Do debt recovery agencies have a duty to be more thorough ?
This morning there was an interesting segment on BBC Two which raised some important questions for us all regarding the way our personal information is being gathered and used.
“Don’t Get Done Get Dom” helped a man restore his credit rating after being chased for thousands of pounds worth of someone else’s debt, over 8 years.
Being turned down for a mortgage application was the last straw for David Smith. Not only was it a complete embarrassment, it meant that his wife had to take on the mortgage by herself; so they were both understandably desperate for Davids true credit rating to be restored, as much for their sanity as well as their financial status.
But how was incorrect data attached to his credit file in the first place ?
83,000 David Smiths were registered in the same year as this Mr Smith was born and the debts were registered to an address in Berkshire – where he could prove he had never lived, but was still chased for the unpaid bills.
In this case Equifax held their hands up and admitted that the data held on Mr Smith was incorrect, and although it had come from another source they had not checked the data was correct in the first place.
CallCredit highlighted that Credit Referencing Agencies can only be as accurate as the third party data sources when tracing individuals.
C.R.A’s (Credit Referencing Agencies) what do they do ?
C.R.A’s store all data about individuals in the UK in relation to their credit worthiness; whether they are keeping up on re-payments on loans, mobile phone contracts, utility bills, etc.
How do C.R.A’s collate and build credit reports ?
Every time you apply for a new loan or a new contract (utilities, mobile phone, etc) those companies will go to credit referencing agencies and attach details of those agreements on an individuals file. Every time you make a payment they will register whether you have paid that bill on time; if not, then they will put a mark against your file.
I am in a similar position and the debt collection company keeps calling me, what should I do ?
Contact the Financial Ombudsman – once a dispute has been raised the company must cease contacting you directly by law, whether the debt is your responsibility or not.
How can I stop this from happening to me ?
All C.R.A’s are obliged to provide you with your own credit report, and situations such as this highlight the importance of regularly checking your credit file.
If you notice any inconsistencies then you should contact the credit reference agency direct, who will work with you to get this information corrected.
- Have you ever been chased for debts that were nothing to do with you?
– What happened?
- With identity being extremely important in today’s world of computers and databases, where info on us is being stored by hundreds of different companies, do debt recovery agencies have a duty to be more thorough?
Whatever your views are on the subject please share them with the LRS community!
This is where Lifestyle Referencing at LRS is completely different. It is not about big databases being used for financial gain but about databases being used for specific purposes. At LRS we have created a community of pro-active landlords and letting agents to simply protect one another from rent arrears, property damages, anti-social behaviour, illegal subletting, criminal activity, and so on.
Our Lifestyle Referencing systems are manually data-controlled, as we fully understand the importance of direct personal contact with our vast community of property professionals as well as accurate data being submitted to us.