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25 January 2008
Last month I posted about the problems I've been having with Virgin Media, who wouldn't accept a payment, because my account wasn't due any money but then sent threatening letters / passed my details to a debt collection agency.
To understand the issues you need to read:
Virgin Media - Not taking payment then contacting a debt collection agency
I since received a phone call from the customer complaints department at Virgin Media. Whilst polite they clearly hadn't read and understood my complaint as whilst trying to verify who I was they insisted that I only had a telephone service on my account. So not a good start.
The customer services had not done any investigation about how this happened. They just made an excuse about it being because of NTL's old system and that they'd now upgraded to a new billing system and that should be the end of it.
When I asked about what information they had passed on to credit checking agencies, she clearly didn't have a clue and appeared to have not tried to find out. In fact the only thing she did was tell me to contact the credit checking agencies myself and then call the Virgin debt handling number if there was something on them.
I didn't trust Virgin to have resolved this so I contacted two credit checking agencies anyway. This cost me £4 in total, but gives some piece of mind. The results have come back and it does not appear that they've affected my information (although it may end up on at a later date, which is still a concern).
One thing I did notice, is that the credit checking agencies try and hide the cheaper £2 option and instead try and sell a more expensive option - often claiming it's Free only to then charge a monthly fee.
Equifax hide their £2 credit check option, instead trying to sell a credit report at £11.99 or a monthly £3.99. Instead you need to search through the website clicking on "Personal Credit Information" (which looks like a title, but it also a link), and then finding "Statutory Credit Report" in the small print on the page.
Experian offer a free report, which then becomes a monthly charge if you don't cancel it. Clicking on the free report will take you to a different site which doesn't mention the £2 option. Instead on their main page look under Customer Services for "ORDER YOUR £2 CREDIT REPORT".
Legally all agencies have to be able to provide the information they hold on you and are only allowed to charge £2 for it. They use these "personal reports" as a way of trying to charge more. So look for the £2 option, or just write to their business address enclosing the payment of £2 as they legally have to provide the information for that.