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Hello and good morning,

gather around and hear my tale of woe.

Perhaps you may be able to provide me with some information which may make things a tad easier for me!

 

Background:

I moved into a house in May 2012 in Yorkshire. I was renting from Reeds Rain.

 

Everything was absolutely splendid. Paid all my bills on time and was never an issue to anybody.

 

When I left the property in 2013 (May),

I advised Reeds Rain and ran through their check-list for leaving.

(Ended up getting £500 from Spark Energy due to having been over-billed for the ENTIRE YEAR!).

 

I was lead to believe that simply cancelling my direct debits would be fine,

since Reeds would take over the account ownerships again as they'd be the home-owners until a new tenant moved in.

 

On the same day I moved out of the property,

I moved abroad until March 2014.

 

While jobseeking,

a company who did a check on me advised me that I had a default on my credit rating, and they wanted to know why.

 

"What? I have NO Idea what that is." Was my genuine reply.

But you, the reader can probably tell where this is going due to the title...

 

I call Yorkshire Water and ask them about it.

They tell me that since I never told them that I had left the property and simply cancelled the direct debit, I owed them money.

 

We confirmed the date I left and they updated their systems and it was then a case that they owed ME money. (A token amount of about £7).

 

I asked at this point if they'd remove the default,

and they confused me and confirmed it'll be okay, they'd mark it as satisfactory.

 

After having spoken to Credit Expert, I realise this is completely different to actually removing the default.

 

This is when I kicked off! (Politely of course!)

 

For the sake of simplicity, I will add in my letter to them, and their response.

 

Good evening,

 

My name is ... and I used to reside at ... in York.

I rented the property for the period of one year from May '12 to May '13.

When I entered the property, my details were provided to Yorkshire Water by my estate agent, Reeds Rain.

I paid my bills every month by Direct Debit and never once had a late payment, or missed payment.

Upon leaving the property, I was told that Reeds Rain would be contacting Yorkshire Water to take over the account again

since it would be in their ownership.

On the SAME day I left the property, I left the country and went to ... for ten months.

Until March 2014 when I returned to the UK.

 

While applying for work, I was informed that a credit-check on me had brought up a default against my name and if I could explain it.

I was BAFFLED.

Nobody had tried to call me or write to me at my new address.

Nor was I emailed or had ANY SINGLE TYPE of correspondence made at all.

I contacted Yorkshire Water and it was discussed as to when I left the property and it was discovered that in fact,

they owed me money which they would arrange to pay back to me ASAP.

Even with this though, they insist on only marking the default as settled instead of removing it,

because it was accurate at the time of being put in place.

 

My argument is this:

It was not valid at the time it was put in place, as no attempt to discuss with me was made.

They had multiple avenues to explore to contact me. (Reeds Rain being a primary contact point for information perhaps?

Or to call my number or email me with the information provided by Reeds Rain.

Or contacting me while I was at the property to confirm they had updated information on me)

 

Second,

the fact that with updated information, I have *NEVER* owed them money,

 

therefore I have never defaulted on a missed payment.

 

This means that the default, although they may have believed it to be correct at the time, is COMPLETELY wrong.

It should be removed as it was added in error.

 

The example I gave is thus:

A man is arrested for murder and put behind bars for a year. It's then discovered he's completely innocent.

The police do NOT keep a record on this person saying he's a murderer!

 

This is a stain on my financial record that I've worked really hard to keep in good standing,

and although it's being marked as "settled", it's still implying that at one point, I was in the wrong.

 

Please help me as soon as you can, as this may affect my current job.

 

Kind regards and thank you for your time,

 

Their reply:

Thank you for your emails received on 28 & 29 May 2014.

 

I’m sorry you’ve had to go to the trouble of contacting us about the Default on your credit file

and that you’re unhappy with the way your account has been handled.

 

Whilst I fully appreciate that you left the country on 9 May 2013, we weren’t made aware of this

until you called us on 27 May 2014.

 

I understand that you had a private agreement with Reed Rains for them to close your account;

unfortunately they didn’t let us know that you’d moved home.

 

Due to the volume of customers we have, it’s not possible for us to contact them all by telephone

and we didn’t hold your email address until your recent call.

The onus is on the customer to make sure that they let us know of a change of address.

 

Just to let you know your account was initially closed in August 2013 when mail was returned undelivered.

We then passed your account to a debt collection agency so that they could trace you.

 

As we were not made aware of the date that you left the property and as payments were not received,

the Notice of Intention to file a Default was sent to the last known address that we had on record.

 

Experian rules state that if a customer hasn’t made us aware of their new address,

the letter can only be sent to the last known address.

 

Although your account has now been amended and a refund given,

I’m unable to remove the Default from your credit file as it was correctly registered at the time,

based on the information that was provided to us.

 

It’s important the information we share is accurate.

 

Please be assured it’s not our intention to put a stain upon your character

and I hope it doesn’t affect your future employment opportunities.

 

As my colleague advised you in our previous email, your credit file will be updated within 28 days to show that the Default has been satisfied.

 

I’m pleased to let you know I’ve also sent you hard copies of both emails to the address that you provided.

 

I realise that this is not the response you were hoping and I’m sorry if my reply has disappointed you.

 

Please be assured that your correspondence has been through our complaints process and has been fully reviewed.

 

This means that if you contact us again about this the outcome will be the same.

 

I've forwarded this onto the ICO since I do not feel that Yorkshire Water are keeping to the Data Protection Act 1998

(Part 4 - Accurate and Up-to-Date)

 

Would anybody be able to confirm if I'm doing the right/wrong thing?

 

Or if there's anything I can/should do differently?

 

Thank you for your time reading this, I know it's a biggy.

 

Kind regards.

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I think you are doing exactly the right thing.

 

But I am not hopeful for a removal. As far as they are concerned you just legged it after cancelling your DD.

 

A difficult one and I do see your side of it. Let's hope that the ICO comes up for you.

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that YW letter has sadly several errors

not the lest the bit about Experian 'rules'

 

they DO NOT set or make ANY rules.

 

IMHO you are being BADLY fobbed off here

 

and I think you should be demanding compensation

along the lines of the durkin case

as this HAS already had an effect on your future.

 

the very fact that as it transpires you did NOT owe them any money

means the 'default' was fault and MUST be removed.

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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As DX says, their letter and their reasoning is flawed.

Not only because of the point about Experian's "rules" - but also it is ridiculous to suggest that a failed direct debit is evidence of a debt. I think that it is a clear responsibility of any company to ascertain the account balance before deciding that there is a debt.

Clearly Yorkshire Water did not do this.

I am afraid that you are falling victim to the incredible uncontrolled power which Experian and other CRAs hold and also for some reason the CRA subscribers - YW in this case - would rather torture their grandmothers or cut off their own legs rather than admit a problem with their use of the credit file system.

 

I think that you have an excellent chance of success - but it will take some effort and I have not doubt that you will have to start a County Court claim. I think that if you are prepared to take this action that you will eventually get the entry removed and also a compensation payment.

 

It is up to you. If you are prepared to go ahead then we will help you.

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Hey there, good afternoon!

Thanks for the information and saying that you feel that I may be in the right. I've been talking to more people and trying to get this resolved, but it's hard to call the people you need when you work 8am-6pm. But I don't intend to drop this at any point.

 

Now, YW have said that they'd remove the default if they receive a letter from Reeds Rain saying that they contacted them when I left the property. (More running around for me to do!)

 

But here's the first email I received from them:

 

Good Morning .....

 

With reference to the telephone calls you’ve had my colleagues regarding address, York, I’m pleased to confirm your water charges have been

cancelled

to 8 May 2013 and your account is now in credit by £7.54. If you provide

me

with your forwarding address, I will happy to arrange for a refund to be

sent

to you.

 

Please also be assured that your account with Wescot Credit Services Ltd

has

been closed.

 

A Default was issued against you in February 2014 as we were unaware until

now

that you had moved from this address. As the Default was issued in good

faith

at the time, I’m unable to remove this from your credit file, however, as

your

water charges have been cancelled to the date you left, your credit file

will

be updated within 28 days to show that your account is now satisfied.

 

If you need any further information or would like to talk to me about this,

 

please call me on the telephone number shown below.

 

Kind Regards

 

Not too sure how it works here so I've removed the names and exact places for privacy etc.

As it stands, I'm still waiting for a reply from the ICO, and will be calling them for an update as soon as I can find a way to do so. (PAYG tariff isn't the best way to do it. :D)

Tomorrow I'll call Reeds to ask if they can rustle up a letter.

I also informed YW on the phone today that I feel that they've breached the Data Protection Act in regards to keeping up-to-date and accurate information and that I intend to take this as far as I possibly can. They stated that they've not done so as it was entirely accurate at the time and it was entirely my responsibility to inform them that I had left the property, and therefore they are not in error.

 

I want to take this as far as I possibly can, I hate the fact that this might be hung over my head for SIX YEARS when I don't feel I did anything wrong. I've never heard of a county court claim before, would it be best to see what the ICO does first? I believe they are able to force compensation and insist they remove the default?

 

Thanks for your time.

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You are quite right, it is disgraceful. Also the system is very unfair. £7 or £7000 - deliberate or accidental - the result is the same. 6 yrs on the register.

 

In your case, YW are completely in the wrong.

If you can get them to remove the default as they say - then well done - but it will be a surprising result. YW have no right to enter a default in these circumstances when you were in credit.

Don't hold your breath for the ICO. They have lost sight of their human rights role in these kinds of things and they see themselves simply as facilitators of good business practice - and maybe not even that.

 

Let us know when you give up and want to take some direct action - and maybe get a little compensation as well.

 

By the way, you should be recording your calls. I'll bet you aren't.

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As the Default was issued in good faith at the time, I’m unable to remove this from your credit file

 

they are really going to regret saying that.

you could be in for a serious amount of compo here I feel.

dx

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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You're absolutely correct, I've not been recording my calls. I will get a recorder tomorrow when I go to town in-case I get any more calls to or from them.

Should I also do a "SARS"(?) request to have them send me all previous calls on a CD? They have to send me everything if I ask, don't they? Costs £10?

 

Anyway, BankFodder, you are infinitely more clever in this than I could ever possibly be. If you suggest I do something, I'll do it straight away. Financial gain isn't my primary goal but would be a nice little extra. If you think I should try another route as while waiting for the ICO, let me know what to do!

 

(It goes without saying that whatever financial comp I may potential get would be partially donated to this site as requested in your avatar.)

 

I look forward to hearing from you and hopefully getting this sorted out with a great outcome.

 

Also FYI, I asked the other day for YW to send me some correspondence via letter as a hard-copy. The two above emails from YW, I have in letter form too.

 

Kind regards,

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It is very rare for any of these companies to produce calls on a cd. They hate doing it and there is always an excuse.

However, with a recorder attached, you could have new conversations which are designed to elicit certain admissions.

 

However, as long as you have evidence of the fact that you were in credit at the time the DD was stopped, then I think that this must be enough. However you should record all calls for the future - always. Truecall is the best. - or if you have an android mobile, then I din that this one https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.appstar.callrecorder is excellent

 

As they appear to have offered an easy way, try the agents and see if they did close the account. But I bet that they didn't.

 

Then come back here.

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DX is right to pick out the "good faith" comment. I hadn't noticed it. There is no basis for good faith in Data Protection

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