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EON are doing exactly the same, my understanding is they changed the T&C which affected customers that had already signed up as in my case.

 

I totally disagree with this practice in principal as like many other i pay up front for my energy and haven't asked for any credit facility with EON.

 

Next I fully expect my paperboys records to start appearing on my CRA files!:rolleyes:

 

http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/utilities-gas-electricity-water/193553-eon-clearer-terms-condtions.html

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What todo - not yet but I will do as and when they bother to reply to my latest email. I doubt they have one..when we took finance through them a fews ago when we had central heating put in, it was done through Black Horse Finance (now paid off). I wonder if I should contact the OFT or FSA about this because I'm not sure they can do this without written permission, which I know I have never given them.

 

Gallache - I have no doubt that EDF will be next to do similar. Your comment about the paperboy made me laugh! :D

 

I just want a yes or no reply from British Gas to my question of if I stop paying by monthly direct debit will they still enter info on my credit file. They don't seem to be able to answer this, perhaps somebody who pays their bills quarterly by cheque or direct payment who has access to their credit file can check and let us know?

 

I know that the utility companies are forever hounding people to sign up to monthly direct debit schemes so they get our money in advance and then proceed to up our monthly payments whenever they feel like it, I will certainly be going back to the old way of paying my gas bill if it means they are not on my credit file. It really is just a matter of principle, but it just so annoys me that they can do whatever they want!

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I dont pay by DD Duffers Mum and they are still on my file. I pay by weekly standing orders and then pay as soon as the bill comes in whats left owing if any. This quarter my electricity only had £40 owing and my gas is still in credit so I paid over the phone as soon as I gave them the readings so technically I paid within 1 minute of the bill being generated. Even though my bill was showing as in credit before i gave them the readings, they still had the audacity to send me an email saying my account was overdue.

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I've received another reply from British Gas, who obviously don't understand what I am asking, they must be exceptionally stupid! Their reply is:-

 

am sorry to learn that you are unhappy with my previous response in regard to your enquiry. I understand that you would like to receive a copy of our terms and conditions in regard to the sharing of information with Credit Reference agencies. I have therefore arranged to send you a copy of ‘we are listening’ leaflet which you should receive in the post shortly.

I understand that you are also concerned that as we are not providing you with Credit then we do not have the right to share your credit information with an external Credit Reference Agency. Unfortunately this is not the case, and also in regard to the monthly Direct Debit scheme we do actually provide credit as you pay equal payments over the course of the year and therefore payments made during the winter period are lower than for actual gas used. I confirm that all information in regard to your enquiry will be included in the leaflet that I have arranged to send you.

In regard to your enquiry about the difference between quarterly and monthly bills payers and the information that we share about these payment options on your energy accounts, we wouldn’t report a bounced monthly Direct Debit payment as a 1 down, it’s literally a count from the bill to when the payment is received e.g. Bill + 30+ days. If a monthly Direct Debit payment bounced then this should revert to cash/cheque payment method within a week or two and then the customer would receive a debt letter, prior to us reporting a 1 or more down on their credit file.

I am sorry that I did not make myself very clear on the previous e-mail that I sent you about the benefits of having a monthly Direct Debit scheme on your gas account. Each monthly Direct Debit payment received on time on your gas account will be shown on your credit file, and therefore also shows that you are a reliable payer which benefits your Experian record.

I hope you find my explanation of your enquiry to be satisfactory. If you have any further concerns regarding this matter then please do not hesitate to let me know.

To help you find more ways to use less energy, we've made our Energy Savers Report even better. It now has a new Energy Planner that shows you how you could save energy and money - up to £444 in fact. Just visit www.britishgas.co.uk/esr

I've again asked for a copy of my credit agreement which I must have signed to agree to their T&C;s and have stated that without this they do not have my permission to report to the CRA's, I have also asked them about their consumer credit licence....I will report back in due course!

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-

 

we do actually provide credit as you pay equal payments over the course of the year and therefore payments made during the winter period are lower than for actual gas used. I confirm that all information in regard to your enquiry will be included in the leaflet that I have arranged to send you.

 

 

Perfect! An admission that they provide credit, which means they should have a licence! Which, I would have thought, means they are governed by the Consumer Credit Act.

If you find my post helpful please click on the scales at the top. Thank you

FAQ SECTION HERE

 

Halifax Bank Claim filed and settled

Halifax Credit Card settled

Argos Store Card settled

 

CCA requests sent to

Halifax Credit Card

LLoyds TSB Credit Card

Capital One

Moorcroft (Argos)

NDR

18/06/09

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Interestingly I have British Gas showing on my CreditExpert report but not on another credit report obtained through a similar service provided with my credit card. Both reports are provided by Experian so I have no idea why they're different - being honest I'm scared to ask :-?

 

Something I'd also like to know is if an account can be marked retrospectively, for instance after you move house & supplier and have not yet paid a final bill.

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EON are doing exactly the same, my understanding is they changed the T&C which affected customers that had already signed up as in my case.

 

I totally disagree with this practice in principal as like many other i pay up front for my energy and haven't asked for any credit facility with EON.

 

Next I fully expect my paperboys records to start appearing on my CRA files!:rolleyes:

 

http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/utilities-gas-electricity-water/193553-eon-clearer-terms-condtions.html

 

EON don't currently share information in the same way BG appear to do, as credit check is done only for new customers, and determines what payment terms are available.

 

The payment history of your energy account is not shared by eon

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hi all,

 

1st of all happy christmas!!!

 

2nd,

 

today i got a reply back from BG about marking c.files. there email in full is below

 

"Re: Credit reference information

 

I am sorry, I am unable to locate the information you require. Please call our Customer Services Team on 0800 048 0202* and one of my colleagues will be able to assist you further.

 

You can find out further information on how we use credit reference agencies and provide them information regarding your account on our terms and conditions at www.britishgas.co.uk or Please download the leaflet here

 

 

 

Thank you for contacting British Gas.

 

Kind regards

my Qus was, hello can you tell what is your CCA licence Number saying that you can mark my credit file.

 

 

 

 

 

 

well, with the saying "unable to locate the information you require" does that mean that BG do not hold a CCA licence NO?

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  • 2 weeks later...

It probably means they don't have a clue what you're asking for.

 

The OFT have a public register of Consumer Credit License holders at Public Register . I just tried to search it but it seems to be broken at present. I'll ring the number tomorrow and see what they say.

 

Does anyone know what the regulations are concerning how and why a company can place information on your credit record. What I can find so far implies that they require your explicit permission in order to do this.

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Hi Dave - thanks for that info and if you canfind anything out I'd be very interested to hear what the answer is.

 

I would have thought that for anybody to place info on your credit file they would need your signature, however I'm pretty sure I've never given British Gas or any of the utilities my signature to that effect. I'm still waiting to hear back from British Gas, they are useless...I will be sending a formal letter of complaint shortly.

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The search is working again today, details for British Gas are as follows :-

 

Application / Licence Details

 

Licence Number:0411962

Licence Status:Current

 

Current Applicant / Licensee:

Business Name Company Registration Number

British Gas Services Limited 3141243

 

Categories:

Consumer credit

Consumer hire

Credit brokerage

Credit reference agency

Debt adjusting/counselling

Debt collecting

 

Right To Canvass Off Trade Premises:Yes

 

Trading Name(s) (Current):

British Gas

British Gas Service

British Gas Services

British Gas Trading

Celsia

Dyno-Rod

Dyno-Secure

 

Issued Date: 13-Jun-1996 Expiry Date: 14-Sep-2011

 

Some other information from Debt Factsheets - Credit Reference Agencies

 

Credit reference agencies hold information about your credit agreements (including any arrears), county court judgments (CCJs) and the electoral roll. A lender can only pass on information about your credit agreements with your consent. You usually give this consent when you sign the credit agreement. Failure to obtain your consent is a breach of the Data Protection Act.

Another interesting article at Data Protection Act and Online Businesses - Information Technology Law Articles and News - Lawdit Reading Room

 

The first principle requires fair and lawful processing, this refers back to Schedule 2 and 3 of the DPA 1998 and the issue of consent. i.e. where no explicit consent has been given the processing of personal data must be 'necessary' , in the event of any dispute the burden of proof is on the data controller. 'Fair' processing was determined under the Innovation (Mail Order) Limited case and also under the Data Protection Directive . In basis it requires the data controller to provide the data subject with information regarding why the data is being collected and what it is to be used for, except where the data subject already has such information. The data controller is though exempt where a third party has collected the data and it is a 'disproportionate effort' for the data controller to provide the information.

As mentioned in principle 6 data controllers must give rights to the data subjects as follows:

 

  • The right of access to his/her personal data.
  • The right to object to certain processing causing substantial damage or stress.
  • The right to object to automated decision making, and
  • The right to object to direct marketing.

Unfortunately people who have opened an account with British Gas online may have agreed to this use of their data without realising. I'm not particularly sure how the law stands on the subject of explicit consent regarding online forms.

 

In my case British Gas certainly did not inform me that my data would be used to report to CRAs nor ask for permission for that use. More disturbingly they placed information on my credit record *after* a final bill was issued following a move to a new house and a different supplier.

 

I'm in the process of composing a letter to the British Gas Data Controller

 

British Gas Data controller address from Information Commissioners - Data Protection Register - Entry Details

 

The Data Controller

British Gas Trading Limited

MILLSTREAM

MAIDENHEAD ROAD

WINDSOR

BERKSHIRE

SL4 5GD

 

I'll post the letter later when I've done a bit more research. Personally I believe British Gas are in breach of the Data Protection Act.

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I got a copy of British Gas' complaints procedure in the post today..not exactly a copy a document with my signature on giving my agreement to them processing my information which is what I asked for...I will definately be complaining....I opened my account with British Gas years ago, and don't remember that I ever signed anything.

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hello,

 

after reading post 37, QUOTE start "Unfortunately people who have opened an account with British Gas online may have agreed to this use of their data without realising" END what about us, the people who phone b.gas to start there account?

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As far as I can tell if, and only if, the British Gas Terms & Conditions contained the information on sharing data with credit reference agencies then it would appear that they can do so, assuming that you were sent a copy of said T&C. However, if your account was opened before this change then their actions are a clear breach of the Data Protection Act.

 

I found some information on a consultation about non-consensual data sharing which is summarised at PLC - Sharing non-consensual credit data: further work to be carried out following consultation responses

 

On 14 February 2008, the Department for Business Enterprise & Regulatory Reform (BERR) published on its website the Government's feedback (Response) to its public consultation on removing barriers to sharing non-consensual credit data (Consultation). The Consultation was launched in October 2006 by the then Department of Trade and Industry and closed in January 2007.

 

Non-consensual credit data is data on credit accounts opened before it was routine to make provision for customers to give permission for lenders to share their data. Lenders wishing to share data of this kind must obtain express personal consent from individual account holders, which can prove expensive and impractical. The Consultation contained legislative proposals enabling the sharing of non-consensual credit data and sought views on the appropriate balance between individuals' rights to privacy and data protection, and the wider public interest of responsible lending within the credit market.

 

The Response notes that while the majority of respondents to the Consultation supported data sharing by financial service institutions to facilitate responsible lending decisions, there was disagreement about whether the sharing of non-consensual credit data would significantly contribute to the goal of preventing over-indebtedness. Respondents were also divided over whether a legislative measure could be regarded as lawful and proportionate and whether restrictions should be imposed on the sharing of non-consensual credit data in the event legislation were to be introduced.

 

In view of this, the Government has concluded that there is insufficient evidence on which to base firm proposals for change, including whether legislation would be appropriate. BERR has therefore established an expert working group which will report its recommendations to Ministers within a year.

 

I can't find any more information on the working group so I can only assume they haven't yet reported their findings.

 

I shall be requesting British Gas to remove my entries from my credit file on the basis that no provision was made for me to give permission to share my data.

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in regard to the monthly Direct Debit scheme we do actually provide credit as you pay equal payments over the course of the year and therefore payments made during the winter period are lower than for actual gas used.

 

That is just rubbish. The direct debit year starts in April/May. If they have calculated the monthly amount correctly you will have paid for the large winter usage during the preceding summer. Your account will be continuously in credit. If it looks as if you will be in debit at any time they will smartly put the DD amount up and often this will be at a time that you are in credit - causing you to object. The customer therefore finances their operation throughout the year which saves them using high interest commercial money. These people give nothing away!!

 

When I considered using DDs years ago I quickly realised that the discounts they give were not commensurate with the money they save in this way and that it was costing me more than the discount. I pay my bills on a three monthly in arrears basis now..

 

If you do the sums remember that you must calculate what financing them costs you. So if you have no debts it will be the rate of interest you can command on savings. If you have debts it is the rate you are paying on that debt - very high on credit cards.

 

Compared to 3 monthly in arrear the direct debit system costs you

 

1. 2% prompt payment discount - within two weeks after the bill.

 

2, Continuous credit throughout the year - increasing in summer and decreasing during the winter. You need to have a good record of usqage to work this.

 

3, The first monthly payment you make each quarter is around 74 days in advance the second 44 days in advance and the 3rd is 14 days in advance.

 

If you send in your meter readings on the day before the bill is due you will have no estimated readings which I have found are 90% overestimates - another way for them to get payments in advance.

 

 

You do not need to sign a contract these days. As soon as you use the utility you have a 'deemed' contract with them. So simply using gas means that you have agreed to the terms and conditions - crazy but true. I have been trying to get a copy of these Ts & Cs for three years now without success.

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That's mad pelham, surely they should be sending you a copy of their terms as soon as you request, to othehrwise how can you be expected to manage your account in line with them?

 

In response to Dave Murphy's post, I have suggested raising a complaint with the information commisioner (never can spell that word), because British Gas should have notified their customers of any changes to their terms and conditions, particularly in cases where a change such as information sharing is concerned. Although it wouldn't need to be a signed contract, revised Ts and Cs should be issued, and possibly also outline that to avoid BG sharing this information with CRA's that the account holder should change their utility provider.

 

In regard to your point about a deemed contract to the current terms and conditions, this can surely be only enforced on exisiting customers where the change in terms has been notified.

 

New customers would be subject to the terms as notified to them - this is surely the logical thought process, but then BG are a utility supplier so as we all know logic goes out the window!

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Does everybody who has contributed to this thread pay by monthly direct debit? If not, can somebody who gets regular access to their credit file and pays their account quarterly by say cash or cheque, confirm whether British Gas have placed anything on their credit files? British Gas don't seem to be able to answer this simple question when I ask them. Thanks :)

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Does everybody who has contributed to this thread pay by monthly direct debit? If not, can somebody who gets regular access to their credit file and pays their account quarterly by say cash or cheque, confirm whether British Gas have placed anything on their credit files? British Gas don't seem to be able to answer this simple question when I ask them. Thanks :)

I said early in the thread DuffersMum that I pay mine by weekly standing order at a price fixed by me. When the bill comes through, hopefully I am in front and probably paying for all my energy before I use it and still they put them on my file.

The A&L bank are now doing it as well for current accounts. If for some reason you go overdrawn without an overdraft facility. they put a late payment marker on there. A couple of months ago It happened twice to me. As well as being hit with 2 X £25 fees, i also got hit with 2 late payment markers. I do have a letter from LTSB stating that they dont divulge current account info to the CRAS.

Edited by royboy68
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Royboy you did mention it in an earlier thread, I must be going gaga in my old age!

 

Halifax have always reported to the CRA's for my current account, showing my rather whopping overdraft :( which will hopefully be cleared sometime this year :)

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Whattodo, bellow is a scan from the letter I got from LTSB Back in 2007. If they ever try that with me I will throw that back at them.

 

 

In case you're worried about what information we share with credit agencies, I would like to reassure you that we only share what is known as white data, which is information about payments to your credit card, loan or mortgage accounts. We don't share details of bank charges.

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hello all,

 

who like me WAS never told the below

 

the below is taken from http://www.britishgas.co.uk/pdf/credit-referencing-guide.pdf (Credit Referencing Guide –how your information is used?)

 

-------------------

 

8, How your data will NOT be used by credit reference agencies:

 

a) It will not be used to create a blacklist.

b) It will not be used by the credit reference agency to make a decision

 

 

How will I know if my information is to be sent to a CRA or FPA?

 

A: You will be told during the sign-up process if the information you provide is

to be supplied to a CRA or FPA. The next section of this leaflet will tell you

how, when and why we will search at CRAs and FPAs and what we will do

with the information we obtain from them. We will also let you know if we

plan to send information about you, such as payment history information on

you and your business, if you have one, to CRAs. You can ask at any time

the name of CRAs and FPAs.

 

-------------------

 

 

what a lot of rubbish, any account on your credit report be be used to make a make a decision about you.

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Pelham, British Gas have their terms & conditions online @ Terms and Conditions - British Gas which they could have pointed you to. I'd assume they're required to supply the information in writing on request too.

 

Royboy, looks like you missed an attachment?

 

Getting back to the subject of CRAs.

 

What_Todo, I certainly wasn't informed of CRA reporting when I first signed up with British Gas. My details were taken to do a credit check in relation to a security deposit. No data was reported by BG on my accounts until *after* I was sent a final bill ( I moved house & changed suppliers )

 

Given the information I found on sharing of non-consensual data it would appear that sharing information from customers who opened accounts prior to the introduction of T&Cs stating that information would be shared is a breach of the Data Protection Act. Nottslad has suggested a super complaint which I guess can be handled by the CAB - I think that's probably a good idea. There seem to be quite a lot of people on here who have suddenly discovered entries on their credit file in recent months.

 

There's quite obviously a serious conflict of interest here. I appreciate that lenders will get a better picture of risk with more information at their disposal but suddenly reporting late payments out of the blue can seriously damage people with current credit commitments. One person had their credit score drop by 400 points thanks to BG. See http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/credit-reference-agencies/226776-6-late-payments-british.html#post2520259 . This kind of thing runs the risk of people's interest rates jumping and credit limits dropping with severe consequences if the updates end up pushing their repayments past their ability to cope.

 

Another poster suddenly had a mortgage application rejected thanks to British Gas - http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/general-consumer-issues/174696-halifax-credit-check.html#post1896538

 

This post - http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/credit-reference-agencies/226776-6-late-payments-british.html#post2520259 contains a copy of the terms & conditions from October and no mention is made of reporting to CRAs.

 

This sort of thing may well be worth reporting to Watchdog too. Is there something we can do as a group that might help put some pressure on?

Edited by DaveMurphy
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