Thanks for the Advice 42man. I have already written to them and have also sent an email to Mr Horta-Osorio.
I have just found out today that I have been refused the mortgage again as a result of adverse credit despite internal communication from their complaints department to the mortgage department acknowledging the mistake.
I am informed that the application was forwarded to the audit department who may not have been aware of the error. So the complaints department are now liaising with the '?credit decisioning department.'
Here is a letter I am about to post:
PO Box 548,
Dear Mr Horta-Osorio,
I am writing today to inform you about my current predicament and the poor service that I recently received from your branch on Wembley High Rd on 20th February 2012.
I recently applied for a joint mortgage with my father (via a mortgage broker) only to be refused on the basis of a poor credit report. As far as I knew, both myself and my father have never had any outstanding bills and no defaults/late payments ever. I obtained a credit report from both Equifax and Experian. The Experian report was completely clear. However, the Equifax report showed multiple entries for a gentleman with a same name and date of birth but a different middle name. He had been linked to my address and there was also a linked address different to my real address. He had several defaults with a few banks.
I recall a few months ago I received letters from several tracing companies trying to find whether I had moved address. They specified an address which I have no association with. I called them and mentioned to them that I had lived at my current address for the last 15 years. In the following months I received several letters from many debt collection agencies asking me to pay for outstanding bills and credit card overdrafts. For every company I received a letter from I wrote a letter informing them of their mistake. From most companies I received a letter of apology and they informed me that it was a credit reference company that has made the incorrect association.
Having phoned the complaints department at Equifax, I now find that it was either Wescot Credit Services or Halifax bank that had made the incorrect association. Wescot credit services explained that it was Halifax that had created the false link. After liaising with Equifax and obtaining information from the Financial Ombudsman website, I believe a link between two addresses can only be made after following a stringent process to verify that the information you hold is correct. I believe you failed in this process and as a consequence I have had to deal with several debt collection agencies and constant telephone calls for the last few months. In fact, I am in a position where I may lose the property that I wish to buy. I hold you, as head of your company, liable for the stress and embarrassment that this has caused.
Trying to avoid this particular eventuality, I contacted Halifax Telephone Banking and I was advised to go into a branch with identification papers to raise a query.
At the branch, after explaining my situation, I am informed by a member of staff (Ms ------) that she or any of her colleagues are clueless about what to do and that I should contact Halifax by phone. I explained that I had done so already and had been advised to come to the branch for verification. The only help I got at the branch was she dialled in the mortgage department’s number for me at the branch and left me at the phone. She failed to raise it with her manager or get advice from the relevant department. It appeared that she did not have any time for me and I was made to feel that the problem was mine alone. This is despite the fact that I have nothing to do with this and my only ‘fault’ was having the same name and date of birth as the other individual.
The following day I spoke to ------- (ID ---------) in telephone banking. He was extremely helpful and offered to call the branch in question and explain the situation to them so they could take this further for me and verify my details (identification). Despite this, the manager (Mr------) at the branch refused to see me at the branch as he would not know what to do. He did, however, offer to make an appointment with Ms ------- so that she could try to set a mortgage up for me. I think he failed to understand the underlining issue which was that Halifax had created an incorrect link that needed to be looked into. He was polite but I felt that he should have known his role better and should have offered to find out and discuss the issue with me. I would understand that if they had not dealt with a similar case before they would not know what to do. But if they lack competence in a certain area they have an obligation to find out what they needed to do. I am given to understand that the branch is the first port of call for any questions and advice. I simply feel the Wembley branch failed in their duty.
I did finally manage to verify my details with --------------- at the branch the following day, after Ms -------- from customer relations had notified them. I would like to thank Mr ----------- for his help.
I also would like to add that the help and advice I received at NatWest was in complete contrast to what I experienced at your Wembley branch.
Time Line of events
- Received tracing letter from DVSL: Called DVSL informing them of mistake – they acknowledged and apologised.
- Statement from Halifax: ‘Thank you for letting us know that you’ve changed your address’: Spoke to Jessica at Halifax (?accounts division) informing her of statement received in error: apologised and said she would look into the matter and I should receive no further statements.
August – January
- I received several letters from debt collection agencies informing me of outstanding bills/overdrafts and threatening legal action. I have atleast 50 letters saved and several others binned. I also received phone calls daily (upto 5 calls daily). Other phone calls included debt related advertising. I received apologies from most of these companies and they informed me that my credit rating would not be affected. I opened an account with Experian and I could see that there were no errors.
January - February
- We made an offer on a property that we needed desperately. It was neighbouring our relatives which was important as my mother suffers from a psychiatric condition and she would benefit from the additional support.
- Mortgage was initially refused by NatWest and then by Halifax. The reason given to me was that it was due to adverse credit. As I had mentioned, my credit report with Experian was perfectly fine. I therefore obtained a report from Equifax and it showed what I have already mentioned.
- I spoke with Equifax and a dispute was recorded on my file on the 17th of February. I also spoke with Halifax and I was advised to visit one of the branches for verification.
Monday 20th February
- Visited the branch at 4pm only to be left at the phone in one of the bays – Did not receive any help at all.
Tuesday 21st February
- Spoke to -------- in telephone banking: He tried to communicate the problem to the branch but manager at branch refused to see me as he did not know what to do.
- Spoke to ---------- in complaints department. (ref. ------)
Wednesday, 22nd February
- Again went into the branch and spoke to ---------- who kindly verified my details.
- I had verbal confirmation from Ms -------- that the error on credit report was due to an incorrect trace by Halifax. She kindly sent internal communication to the mortgage department so they were aware of the situation.
- With this information in hand my mortgage broker logged an appeal. We were told that we would know the outcome by 24-48hrs, i.e. Friday, 24th February.
Friday, 24th February
- Called mortgage progression line only to be told that they were still looking into it and that I would now have to wait till Monday, 27th February.
- In the mean time, the house sellers have made an offer on another property and are understandably frustrated and have questioned our offer.
Monday, 27th February
- No updated until late afternoon when I was informed that the application has been referred to an audit team and will now take another 2-3 days.
- Sellers have lost confidence in our offer and I had to advice them to seek another seller if they wished as this was not in our hands and that Halifax were behaving inappropriately despite making the initial mistake.
Thursday, 1st March
- I am informed by the mortgage progression team that the mortgage has been refused and the gentleman on the phone said that he was not allowed to tell me why.
- I spoke to Ms ------- again and she informed me it was again due to an adverse credit report. This just highlights the lack of communication within the mortgage department as their colleague, Ms --------, had notified them of the errors.
So we are currently in a situation where I cannot obtain a mortgage because of an error created by your bank. I have written to the financial ombudsman and will be seeking legal advice if I fail to obtain a mortgage as a direct result of your company’s incompetent tracing team and lack of internal communication.