Many will have watch the Dispatches investigation on Channel 4 while they went undercover in the UK’s largest credit reference agency, Experian.
It’s caused a bit of a stir but to be honest the claims dispatches made were not really worthy of the program and a lot more could have been covered. Experian handled the situation quite well by putting a human face to the response, something that’s very rare! The answers were a little standard and nothing you wouldn’t expect, BUT it took 18 Months for experian to apologise to Rosalind Canning, a customer of “credit expert” who had incorrect information on their account.
First things first Experian is a good service, it allows us to see whats held on our credit files, and see what lenders see, this is very valuable information. The scale of the operation is huge, and the amount of data collected, stored, and shared is beyond all comprehension.
Complaints are very low compared to the sheer number of customers experian has, but they need to make some changes to ensure the data is correct when challenged. It’s all very well telling people to contact the lender but when you get no reply, that negative information stays on your report, is doing real damage and isn’t acceptable.
Many people are annoyed that they even exist, but how else can lenders know who is creditworthy, and who isn’t?
Why Experian is an Essential Asset to Consumers and Companies
If a total stranger walked up to you and asked to lend £1000 would you give him it? NO!
If it was someone you knew and trusted the situation is very different?
If it was someone who was vouched for by a very close friend you would be better armed to consider it, correct?
That’s really all Experian do is show your past history to potential lenders so they can make an informed decision. Every time you pay your bills on time, pay your credit card, clear some off the mortgage, those are all people vouching for you as a creditworthy person and someone who can be trusted, and this information is gathered together in one place to make life simpler.
The opposite is also very true, miss a payment on your store card can be damaging, miss quite a few and default and that’s a red flag to potential lenders but like it or not the system works. As long as the information on your file is correct then you really don’t have much to get upset about, if the information is incorrect you need to get it changed, mistakes can and do happen.
What we Absolutely Hate about Experian, and What CAN be Done Better?
The checks they need to do to ensure the information is correct. It’s just not good enough.
They say that it’s the lenders responsibility to ensure the information provided to them is correct, this is fine and the way it should be. BUT, when that information has been disputed by a customer they need to check its accuracy for themselves and not side with the lenders and accept what they say is the truth, it’s our experience that the opposite is true and the late payments, defaults or ccjs are incorrect in some way and no one wants to do anything about it.
Not all lenders are created equal: Some are great, understanding and will apologize for an error. Others are just acting in illegal ways, using underhand tactics to gain advantage over a consumer, and it’s unfair and unjustified.
Credit reference agencies need to be more accountable for their action when information is disputed, they seem to thing they are untouchable and pass everything off to those who have sent them the information, this has to change and will change at some point I’m certain of it, but most likely not until it’s challenged in court which may not be as far away as some may think.