Hi, I hope someone here can help me, I have already found a lot of useful information in these forums.
If I first explain my situation, I purchased 2 PAYG 3 Mobile phones in 2003 at Carphone Warehouse. After a short period of time, I discovered that 3 had put me onto a high user 12 monthly contract tariff instead. It took me a short amount of time to resolve this problem and unfortunately I did not report them to Ofcom at the time. Anyway, like many people I have now received the MacKenzie Hall letters asking for the £18.50 that they claim that I owe them.
I have since checked my Credit Record using Experian and have found that there is a default on there from a company called Lowells, from whom I have never had any communication. A quick internet search sees that Mac-Hall are acting on behalf of Lowell. However these letters from Mac-Hall have all arrived after the default has been placed on my credit record.
OK, so here are some facts as far as I am concerned,
1. 3 should not be able to produce any signed credit agreement for any of the payments that they claim should be made from the mobile phone as they put me on an incorrect tariff at the time.
2. 3 have not made any contact with me about the alleged debt over the previous 5 years.
3. Mac-Hall/Lowell are as far as I am aware not allowed to put a default onto my credit file without previously contacting me about resolving thedebt (is this correct??)
4. I have the bank statements from the period of time that the mobile phone contract was taken out showing all required payments at the time.
So the course of action I have taken so far is,
1. I sent recorded delivery to Mackenzie-Hall a "prove-it" type letter. I am confident that no agreement exists between m and 3, as you dont forget the hassle that I went through to argue this with both Carphone Warehouse and 3 at the time (should have reported it to Offcom at the time, but you live and learn!!)
MacKenzie-Hall have since responded to this letter offering me reduced terms, whilst they look into this matter, however they have not put a date definition onto this looking into procedure, they just refer to it taking some time.
2. Yesterday I contacted Ofcom, who were very helpful, and sounded like they had heard this a lot recently. They recommended that I send a letter to 3, and gave me some information to put into the letter. It is essentially a formal complaint, requesting prof of the debt, or for three to contact Lowell and request that the default be removed. If not the matter wil be moved further down Ofcom complaint procedure and onto Otelo (ombudsman). I have requested a formal reply in 14 days from this letter.
3. I have also contacted Experian to request that a notice of dispute be added to my account at the position that Lowells default appears.
My strongest concern is the removal of the default, and the ability to keep this default off my credit file in the future.
OK, so here are my questions,
1. I have never heard from Lowell, not a single comunication,and the letters from Mac-Hall all appeared after the initial default was placed on my credit file. Is this allowed? If not, what is the best course of action for removing this default, should I contact the information commissioner? Should I contact Lowell (by letter of course), or Mackenzie-Hall. They have managed to confuse me a little bit regarding who my concerns should be addressed to (something that I feel is a tactic on their behalf). Is there a general financial authority that I should communicate with.
2. Having already had communication with Mac-Hall and now having this open dated "we will look into letter", is there now something that I can fire back to them, to firstly make them define a time period, and secondly if they fail to produce documentation (which they will, as I remember very clearly what I did or didnt sign at the time), can I request they remove the default (and are Mac-Hall in fact who I should be asking, or the mystery Lowell??). If so, how do I go about requesting this removal?
3. Any other suggestions for how to take this forward as I would like to resolve this with the minimum of fuss??
I appreciate any help or comments, and appreciate that this was a long winded explanation, only I wanted to get the facts down as clearly as I could. I also appreciate that some people will be astonished to not pay for just £18.50 (or £5.55 with the reduced letter) but I dont in anyway acknowledge that I owe anything to any of these companies, and secondly the placement of the default on my record prior to any communication has somewhat forced my, ANGRY, hand.
Many thanks in anticipation,