This report explains the information shown on your credit file and explains how to correct any details that you feel need updating.

Understanding your file

Any queries you have concerning Northern Ireland judgments should be sent to the Enforcement of Judgments Office, 7th Floor, Bedford House, 16/22 Bedford Street, Belfast BT2 7DS.

These codes show, for the last 12 months (or for the last 12 months of the life of a closed account), whether you have paid according to the terms of your contract and, if not, by how many payments you were behind.

Information about other people

Information about other people may be recorded on your credit file because the finances of people living in the same household are often linked. If another person’s financial details are recorded on your file and you share no financial link, you may wish to request that we delete the information from your file. To do so, please send us a request in writing providing your full name and the full name of the other person, the addresses you have shared and your relationship, if any, to that person. However, if any financial connection does exist between you and the other person, such as a joint account, we will not be able to remove the information.

Electoral Roll details, in other names, will be retained whether or not a financial connection exists.

Electoral Roll

The Electoral Roll is published each February, using information supplied by the public to their local authorities. We hold copies of this from 1980 onwards to help lenders confirm the identity of applicants and check that the addresses given on application forms are correct. Lenders will often ask for your addresses over the last six years in order to build up as full a picture as possible of your previous credit applications and account history.

The date shown for you when you left a previous address may not always be correct. This is because local authorities have different policies for updating the Electoral Roll. In order not to prejudice people whose names are accidentally missing from the Electoral Roll, we only close an entry when the new occupants register. If your date of moving is incorrect, please let us know.

Public information

Court judgments

Records of money judgments in the county court are held by us for six years from the date of judgment. The information is supplied to us by Registry Trust, an independent organisation established by the Lord Chancellor’s Department. Registry Trust’s address is 173-175 Cleveland Street, London W1P 5PE.

We do not receive information about the identity of the plaintiff. For this you will need to contact the county court concerned. Judgments that are paid in full within one month are deleted from our records, providing that a Certificate of Satisfaction is obtained from the court. Judgments paid in full after one month, where a Certificate of Satisfaction has been obtained, remain on our records as ‘satisfied’. Scottish courts do not issue Certificates of Satisfaction. If you have paid off a Scottish Decree, you should send Registry Trust a receipt or letter of confirmation from your creditor, the pursuer.

If your file contains information on English or Welsh judgments or Scottish Decrees which you consider to be inaccurate, you should write to Registry Trust enclosing the statutory search fee of £4.50. They will contact us directly with any amendment.

Individual voluntary arrangements

We hold details of bankruptcies and voluntary arrangements. These are obtained from the official Gazettes and Insolvency Service, and are held for six years. If a bankruptcy is annulled or discharged, or a voluntary arrangement is completed, we will amend our records on receipt of documentary evidence. Queries regarding bankruptcy information should be addressed to the Official Receiver who originally dealt with your case. Queries about voluntary arrangements should be addressed to the supervisor of the individual arrangement.

Credit accounts

A database of customer accounts is maintained by us on behalf of lenders. It contains details of accounts that have been active in the last six years. Some lenders provide information only on customers who have failed to meet their obligations. These records are known as ‘defaults’.

Others provide information throughout the life of a customer account.

Account information is valuable in assessing a customer’s ability to manage his or her finances. We enable lenders to share this information in order to help identify good payers, as well as those who are already over-committed.

If your file contains account records there will be a set of up to 12 status codes for each account, such as STATUS 010100000UUU.

Other lenders need to know whether you have made your payments to the terms originally agreed. Arrangements to pay reduced payments will therefore not necessarily be recorded. Similarly, arrangements to pay after a default has been recorded will not lead to the default record being removed.

The most recent status code is on the left and the oldest on the right of your file.

In addition, beside each account there may be the entry ‘Number of status 1-2’ and ‘Number of Status 3+’. These identify how many times payments have been either up to two payments late or three or more payments late since the account was opened (or in the last 36 months if this is shorter).

Status Code Meaning

  • 0 Payment to date.
  • 1 Payment up to one payment late.
  • 2 Payment up to two months late.
  • 3 Payment up to three months late.
  • 4 Payment up to four months late.
  • 5 Payment up to five months late.
  • 6 Payment up to six or more months late.
  • U Account status unclassified.
  • ? Account details not updated that month.
  • D Account inactive or dormant that month.
  • 8 or 9 Account defaulted.

The customer has failed to meet his or her contractual obligations and has not responded satisfactorily to requests that the account be put in order. As a result the contract has been deemed terminated. Where appropriate action may have been taken subsequently to obtain payment of some or all of the amount. Some or all of the amount may have been paid.

Understanding your file

Banks classify accounts as delinquent that are three months in arrears for two consecutive months, or are more than three months in arrears.

If the account is already closed the record will show the status code for up to three years before the close date. Where the status codes relate to a current account they may indicate, for example, that there has been unauthorised overdrawing, that cheques or direct debits have been ‘bounced’ or that no money has been paid into an account that has been overdrawn for one or more months. In addition to status codes, some lenders may also provide one of the following classifications on a customer record:

Deceased – customer has been reported as deceased.

Gone away – lender has reported that the customer is no longer at the address given.

Recourse – lender has reported that the account has been transferred to the dealer or retailer who introduced the customer.

Voluntary termination – lender has reported that the account has been terminated under Section 99 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974.

Arrangement to pay – lender has agreed to vary the amount of payments from the customer for a period of time.

Debt management programme – lender has reported that the account has been included in a debt management programme organised by, for example, a Citizens Advice Bureau or Consumer Credit Counselling Service.

Credit protection insurance claim – customer has made a claim under a credit protection insurance policy.

Account query – lender as reported that the customer has queried the accuracy of this information. If the outstanding balance on a defaulted account is not up-to-date, please ask the lender to tell us so that we may update it.

Use of the term ‘credit sale’ includes both hire purchase and conditional sale agreements.

Customer records are held by us on behalf of lenders. If you think there are any inaccuracies that might adversely affect your ability to obtain credit, you should write to the lender concerned.

Repossessions

Members of the Council of Mortgage Lenders record information on customers whose homes have been repossessed or surrendered voluntarily. The information may include the address of the repossessed property, the address from which the application for the mortgage was made and the address to which the customer has moved.

Previous searches

We maintain a record of applications for credit and enquiries we receive from lenders. Although both types of searches appear on your credit file, only records relating to credit applications will be seen by lenders. This information helps to identify unusual activity, which may indicate fraud or over-commitment.

Information on previous enquiries is held for one year.

Associations and aliases

Associations will be recorded on your file if we have been advised of a joint account, joint judgment or application for finance. The file will show when and how the connection was created. We may have a record of other names by which you have been known if we have been notified further to information provided to a lender.

If you believe details of an association or an alias to be incorrect, please advise us of the circumstances and we will be pleased to investigate the matter and make any appropriate amendment.

Linked addresses

You may find a record of any previous or forwarding addresses on your credit reference file. Links are created by the movement of account information or as a result of previous addresses being searched by a lender.

Gone away information network

We are members of the Gone Away Information Network (GAIN), in which lenders share information on customers with debts who have moved home without providing a forwarding

address. The information may include both the original address and the address at which the customer has subsequently been recorded.

CIFAS – Credit Industry Fraud Avoidance System

Members of CIFAS provide information about suspected frauds. Only members of the scheme can see CIFAS flags.

Details include the name of the subscribing member and a contact. An explanation of the category of fraud is also included.

An individual must never be automatically refused on the basis of a CIFAS record. The rules of CIFAS require a member to fully investigate the situation before making a decision. If you are a member of CIFAS and a customer has a query about information subscribed by you, you should follow the guidelines issued by CIFAS.

SCHEDULE 1
Regulation 4(1)
CREDIT REFERENCE AGENCY FILES
INDIVIDUALS (INCLUDING SOLE TRADERS)
YOUR RIGHTS UNDER SECTION 159 OF THE CONSUMER CREDIT ACT 1974, AND UNDER THE DATA PROTECTION ACT 1998, IF YOU THINK ANY ENTRY IN OUR FILE IS WRONG.
This statement of your rights is provided by Experian Ltd together with all the information we hold about you on our files. Our postal address is: Consumer Help Service, Experian, PO Box 8000, Nottingham, NG1 5GX.
Your rights are as follows:
If you think that any of the information we have sent you is wrong and that you are likely to suffer because it is wrong, you can ask us to correct or remove it from our file.
You need to write to us telling us what you want us to do. You should explain why you think the information is wrong.
If you write to us, we have to reply in writing within 28 days.
Our reply will tell you whether we have corrected the information, removed it from our file or done nothing. If we tell you that we have corrected the information, you will get a revised copy of your file.
If our reply states that we have done nothing, or if we fail to reply within 28 days, or if we correct the information but you are not happy with the correction, you can write your own note of correction and ask for it to be included on our file.
To do this, you will need to write to us within 28 days of receiving our reply. If you did not get a reply from us and you want the information we sent you to be corrected, you will need to write to us within eight weeks of the letter you wrote to us in which you asked us to correct the information or remove it from our file.
Your letter will need to:
• Include the note of correction you have written. It must not be more that 200 words and should
give a clear and accurate explanation of why you think the information is wrong. If the information is factually correct but you think it creates a misleading impression, your note of correction can explain why.
• Ask us to add your note of correction to our file and include a copy of it whenever we give anyone any of the information you think is wrong or any information based on it.
If we accept your note of correction we will have to tell you in writing within 28 days that we are going to add it to our file.
If we think it would be wrong to add your note of correction to our file, we have to apply for a ruling from the Data Protection Commissioner.
We will apply for a ruling if we do not want to include your note of correction because we think it is wrong, or because we think it is defamatory, frivolous or scandalous, or unsuitable for publication for some other reason.
We can only refuse to include your note of correction if the Commissioner agrees with us.
If we have not written to you within 28 days of receiving your note of correction, or if we have written telling you that we are not going to add your note of correction to our file, you can appeal to the Data Protection Commissioner.
If you want to do this, you will have to write to the following address:
The Data Protection Commissioner
Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF Telephone: 01625 545704 Fax: 01625 524510
E-mail: mail@dataprotection.gov.uk
When you write, you must give the following details: • Your full name and address • Our name and address
• Details of the information you think is wrong, including:
– why you think it is wrong
– why you think you are likely to suffer because it is wrong
– an indication of when you sent us your note of correction
If would be helpful to the Commissioner if you could include a copy of your note of correction.
Before deciding what to do, the Commissioner may ask us for our side of the story and send us a copy of the your letter. In return, you will be sent any comments we make.
The Commissioner can make any order she thinks fit when she has considered your appeal. For example, she can order us to accept your note of correction and add it to our file.
If at any stage we fail to correct or remove wrong information, you can ask the Data Protection
Commissioner to check whether we are meeting the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998.
The Data Protection Act 1998 requires us to take reasonable steps to check the accuracy of personal information.
If you think we have failed to correct or remove wrong information about you, you have the right to ask the Data Protection Commissioner, at the above address, to check whether our dealing with your information has met this requirement.
Important Note: The various time limits referred to in this statement (mostly 28 days) start with the day following receipt and end with the day of delivery. That means (for example) that if you have 28 days to reply to a letter from us, the period starts with the day after you receive our letter. You then have to make sure that your reply is delivered to us no later than 28 days from that date. In order to avoid the risk of losing your rights you should therefore allow for postal delays.
If you are a sole trader or partnership and wish to obtain a copy of your credit file, please apply to us in writing, enclosing details of the name and address(es) of the business together with the £2 statutory fee, made payable to Experian.
Please address any correspondence to:
Consumer Help Service, Experian, PO Box 8000, Nottingham NG1 5GX

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