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United Utilities, Equifax default for old address after 8 years, ICO say ok

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Please does anyone have any advice on this?

 

The facts as they have been reported to me:

 

Mr X leaves the property in 2008.

Mrs X remains at the property and there is a verbal agreement

that she will transfer the utility bills to her name.

Mr X still legally owns the property until it is repossesed by the bank in 2010.

 

In 2015 Mr X obtains a copy of his Equifax credit report and discovers that United Utilities have registered a default dated March 2015.

 

Unitied Utilities will not remove the default as they say Mr X did not notify them he had moved/was no longer responsible for the water charges at the property.

 

The ICO have today sent this response:

 

Dear Mr X,

 

I write further to my email of 19 February.

 

Based on the evidence provided, I consider that it is likely that United Utilities has complied with its obligations under the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) in this case.

 

I feel it may be useful to explain that a default on a credit file means that an organisation considers the relationship between itself and the individual to have broken down.

 

United Utilities has explained that whilst the last payment was made in 2007,

they had been attempting to chase the debt and a default notice was only issued in February 2015

when collections activity was deemed exhausted

and the relationship was deemed broken down.

 

United Utilities has explained that the credit for £268.88 was a false credit

and has confirmed that that the default date of 14 March 2015

and default balance of £3093 were accurate

and up to date at the time it was shared with Equifax.

 

 

United Utilities has explained that they acted on the information available to them

as you did not inform them that you had ceased being responsible for charges at xxxxxxxxxxxxx until May 2015.

 

I understand that while the default will remain,

United Utilities will request amendments to your credit file to reflect the subsequent information received by you.

 

I appreciate you may be disappointed by this,

but I hope the information provided above explains the reasons for our decision.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Adele Roper

Lead Case Officer

Information Commissioner’s Office

01625 545 774

 

Is there anything to stop a company registering a default from so long ago, or would there be if an agreement was regulated by the CCA? Is there any point Mr X arguing that he did not take out a credit agreement with United Utilities? I believe that utilities companies have only recently been allowed to 'share' data with credit reference agencies, so it's not something Mr X would have agreed to/been aware of upon opening the account.

 

Thanks for reading.

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utter cobblers and the ICO clearly doesnt understand about when a default applies from.

tell them you want to appeal the decision to a higher levelas you should not be held responsible for the water co's inability to understand that the repossession of the property and the bank taking it back is enough to show that the relationship had broken down and that UU were aware of all of this at that time because it is in their other obligations to the new consumer at that address.

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I have a document which shows united utilities remove charges which are statute barred after 6 years. If the last payment and thats the critical point, was 2007 then its statute barred from the relevant month in 2013


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Thanks for your comments guys.

 

United Utilities has since telephoned to say they will be removing the default completely. I don't know the reason behind this. I can only guess it got passed to a dept with an ounce of discretion/reasonableness. Not impressed with the ICO response at all - seems they are willing to let companies report defaults on historical accounts indeterminately, with no regard to the difficulties this can cause to consumers who thought their debt problems were behind them (and/or those who had no idea of an alledged debt from an old address).

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