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Mrs Blazing Badger V Cabot


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Hi All

 

My wife has two defaults on her file with Experian. I think I recognise one, which is an old debt to HFC (ex Beneficial Bank), no idea what the other one is about. To the best of my belief we have never received a Default Notice about these accounts.

 

We have done a CCA request to Cabot last October and since then we have heard.... nothing. No copy of the original agreement, but no demands for payment either. Despite numerous reminders they are ingoring us! As they are now seriously in criminal default I have complained to Kent Trading Standards.

 

In the meantime we have asked Experian to delete the defaults on the grounds that there's no evidence that they are accurate. They refuse on the grounds that they cannot do so without Cabot's consent. Now we have received a letter from Experian saying Cabot would like us to contact them direct! I have replied pointing out that we have already contacted Cabot seven times about this, without reply. Experian are the Data Controllers and cannot hide behind Cabot like this. Given the long wait without action we have asked the Information Commissioner for a ruling.

 

So now we have two open complaints: one to TS about Cabot and one to the Information Commissioners Office about Experian. Will keep you all posted about progress. Next step is an S.A.R to both Cabot companies (I know, I know, should have done this already...)

 

Regards

 

B-B

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  • 4 weeks later...

We have now had confirmation from the ICO that they are investigating our complaint, in the meantime we have had this from Experian:

 

Dear Mrs Badger

 

Thank you for your letter dated 10th May 2007

 

I note your comments regarding the Cabot financial account and can advise that Credit reference agencies simply store credit accounts on behalf of lenders. As a result, if you have any queries about a credit account you should contact the company direct. I cannot change these records without the lender's consent, a court order or from a ruling by the Information Commissioner. We will make any changes to the information as requested by Cabot or the other mentioned parties promptly.

 

This isn't true, is it? CRA's don't "simply store credit accounts on behalf of lenders". They pass that data on to third parties and are therefore data controllers.

To fulfil our obligations and to comply with your rights under Section 159 Consumer Credit Act 1974 and the Data Protection Act 1998, we queried the accuracy of these accounts with the companies concerned on your behalf. Cabot Financial (UK) Ltd advise that they are unable to amend/delete the account in question at the current time.

So, let me get this right. Experian have no responsibility for the accuracy of the data - but now they have obligations! And Cabot don't give any reason for refusing to delete the entries - they won't communicate to us at all and I'm certain they can't have given Experian any evidence to justify this decision.

The company concerned has requested that you contact them directly regarding this matter. You should include with your correspondence any documentation to support your comments.

What, again? That would be the eighth time I've contacted Cabot about this, and I've had one reply! I've asked Experian to remove the account precisely because Cabot won't communicate with us, won't supply the original credit agreement, can't supply any evidence to justify their claims and don't respond to requests to correct their data.

 

Will leave this in the hands of the ICO for now, unless anyone has any other ideas of how to move forward?

 

Thanks

 

B-B

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Hi,

 

You could write to Experian one more time, asking to remove the entries. Otherwise you will start a claim against them in the County Court for maladministration!

 

Assuming you have enough evidence etc.

 

 

Good luck, Jeff.

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The CRAs really are puppets of the DCAs. :(

  • Barclays: WON!!! It took four months but was totally worth it!
  • Cabot: I'm still waiting for an enforcable agreement, more than a year after requesting it. Go on, Uncle Ken, take me to court if you dare. You know you want to!
  • Elephant.co.uk: VICTORY - they admitted there was no debt!
  • Ashbourne Management (gym membership): Finally got my default removed and out-of-court settlement; I'm not finished with them yet!

<--- If I've been helpful please remember the scales ;)

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  • 3 weeks later...

Next instalment - have received the following from Patrick Hill at Cabot :-

 

I write in relation to the aforementioned and in response to your letters dated 19th January and 27th March 2007. Initially please accept my apologies that you have not received a substantive response to these letters.

And what about my letters of 6/10/06, 16/10/06, 23/10/06, 05/04/07 and 10/05/07?

 

I regret that you have felt cause to complaint to Cabot Financial (Europe) Limited ("Cabot") and apologise for any inconvenience that you may have experienced in relation to this matter. I am disappointed that Cabot has not been able to satisfy your concerns on previous occasions.

Not half as disappointed as I am!

I understand your concern relates to our failure to comply with section 78(1) of the Consumer Credit Act 1974, stating that Cabot has committed a criminal offence by failing to comply. Your credit reference file shows two defaults, the first relating to the HFC store card and a second default described as "bank." You state that you have not had a credit or store card with HFC during the relevant period. As Cabot is unable to provide the Credit Agreement you state we are claiming for a debt, which you do not owe and request a refund of all payments you have made. With regards the second default, Cabot has not claimed on this and you deny that you owe any money.

You also state Cabot registered these defaults without any documentation to substantiate them and therefore Cabot is in breach of its responsibilities under the Data Protection Act. You ask that the defaults be removed.

No. I insist that they are removed

Account aaa is in relation to a HFC store card, which was opened in October 1997 and subsequently assigned to or purchased by the Cabot Financial Group in October 2003.

Untrue. Mrs B has never had a store card with HFC or anyone else.

The original balance was £xxxx and the current balance stands at £xxxx after taking into account six payments you have previously made to Cabot totalling approximately £100.00.

Except that the statements show the original balance about £300 less! The last entry shows the whole amount outstanding being “charged off” I.e. that HFC have written the debt off against tax as a bad debt. And don't you just love that "approximately"?

The very fact that you have made payments to this accounts shows that you have acknowledged the debt with us and therefore Cabot cannot agree that you dispute owing this debt.

Maybe for the purposes of the Limitation Act. But completely irrelevant for the purposes of the CCA.

Account bbb is a Hitachi Nova Retail Credit ("Hitachi") agreement which was signed and agreed to in August 1999 and relates to products bought from Time Computers Ltd at the time you signed the agreement with Hitachi. This account was assigned to or purchased by Cabot Financial Group in March 2004 with an outstanding balance of £xxx. Cabot did make attempts to contact you on this account, to no avail.

So let’s get this right, Cabot have been unsuccessfully trying to contact Mrs B for the last three years about this account, at the same time as actually extracting payment for a different account. This just isn’t true!

 

I note that you have requested information under section 78 Consumer Credit Act 1974 (CCA). However, I respectfully advise you that Cabot has no duty to supply this information as it is not the creditor for the purposes of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 and therefore has no obligation to supply this information. The reason being is that only the rights in collecting a debt has been assigned to the Cabot Financial Group and not the duties of the creditors, HFC Bank and Hitachi.

 

Wrong.

 

Furthermore, I note that you have at no time provided the statutory fee for such a request and in any event Cabot would not accept such fees for the reasons set out in this letter. These CCA requests should be made with the original creditor. Please also be advised that section 78 of the Consumer Credit Act does not apply to the Hitachi agreement.

 

Also untrue. Crapbot signed for a letter enclosing the statutory fee on 09/10/06. The serial number of the order was stated in the letter. Crapbot replied the next day stating that they were requesting the original agreement from HFC. Nowhere in that letter do they deny liability under S78 or mention that the fee was not enclosed.

 

Notwithstanding the above and in order to assist you, I have requested copies of the credit agreements from the creditors as an urgent request and Cabot shall forward these as soon as we receive the same. I have also enclosed copies of statements for the HFC store card and the Hitachi account since Cabot's ownership of the account.

 

Not “in order to assist”. Because they are obliged to! There are some crappy printouts about an account with HFC, but not a store card account - but nothing about Hitachi

 

In relation to the defaults registered with the credit reference agencies, you are concerned that Cabot Financial (Europe) Limited has no right to report to the credit reference agencies. Please be advised that Cabot Financial (Europe) Limited does not report to the Credit Reference Agencies, as only the legal owner of the account can report, this being Cabot Financial (UK) Limited (formerly Kings Hill (N01) Limited). Cabot Financial (Europe) Limited is the contracted agent and servicing company of the Cabot Financial Group. Furthermore, Cabot Financial (Europe) Limited and/or Cabot Financial (UK) Limited did not register the original defaults on your accounts. However, Cabot have continued the reporting of the original defaults which were previously registered by HFC Bank and Hitachi. Accordingly the Cabot Financial Group are entitled and obligated to report your accounts in the same manner as the original creditors.

Cabot are obligated? But just now, Cabot had assumed the rights but not the responsibilities!

You have also requested that we remove the entries with the credit reference agencies. Regrettably, Cabot cannot honour your request as the entries registered with the credit reference agencies are accurate. We disclose information to credit reference agencies on our customers' conduct of their accounts as disclosure is necessary for the purposes of legitimate interests pursued by Cabot, other members of the credit industry and the credit reference agencies. Credit reference agencies hold such data and disclose it to prospective lenders as is, similarly, necessary for the purposes of the same legitimate interests. Accordingly, the Data Protection Act permits disclosure of such information to and by credit reference agencies without the customers' consent.

Crapbot only have a legitimate interest if, and only if they are the owners of the debt. And that doesn't absolve them from their responsibility under the Data Protection Act to ensure the data is accurate - see the 4th data protection principle

 

Please be advised that once your accounts are paid in full, Cabot will update your credit files to show the entries as satisfied. I would therefore recommend you contact the Customer Assurance team in order to discuss the options available to you in settling the outstanding balances.

 

Basically, we can't prove you owe us any money, but please send us some anyway

 

Currently polishing off a reply, will post when it's done.

 

B-B

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