Defaults and Credit Reference Agencies (CRAs)
The Information Commissioner (ICO) deals with the conduct of Credit Reference Agencies and the information they hold. They publish a very useful Guide to Credit.
Creditors should follow the Principles for the Reporting of Arrears, Arrangements and Defaults at Credit Reference Agencies.
CCJs also remain on file for six years, as do bankruptcy and DROs. IVAs will also remain for six years unless the IVA lasts longer than that.
When the official receiver obtains a bankruptcy or DRO restriction order, these orders will stay on record for as long as they last.
Once a default is recorded, it will remain on file even if you later settle the account. In this case it should be marked ‘settled’ or ‘satisfied’.
When an account is sold or assigned, it will often appear as settled with the original lender and the default will appear in the name of the new owner.
If a creditor obtains judgment against you (a CCJ), the judgment will stay on file for six years regardless of the original date a default was recorded on the account.
If you find an erroneous entry on your file, you should contact the creditor in the first instance. If that fails, contact the ICO.
The most common types of error are duplicate entries for a single account and wrong default dates, often recorded by debt purchasers who, in a number of occasions, reset the default date to the time when they bought the account. This is incorrect and should be challenged.
A default reflects a debtor’s conduct with the account. Even if the account is unenforceable due to lack of a proper agreement, the default will remain on record, however, a recent judgment established that, if an account has been declared unenforceable in court, then the default should be removed.
The sharing of data with the credit reference agencies is governed by the Principles of Reciprocity. See SCORN online for more information.
This section sets out the overall objectives and background to the credit referencing system and the data processing principles surrounding it.
The data held by National Hunter is not the same as the CRA data, it contains records entered by lenders when they have concern regarding credit applications and it can flag up inconsistencies between applications, for example if your previous employment details, salaries or addresses don’t match between various credit applications.
This register can stop you from being approved for credit and holds over half a million entries. Unlike CRAs, the only way to obtain the data held by National Hunter is to send a Subject Access Request (with a £10 fee) but there is no dispute resolution mechanism, any arguments have to be taken up with the lender who would decide whether to amend the records accordingly.
If you wish to send a Subject Access Request (SAR) to National Hunter you’ll need to send this form with a £10 cheque or postal order.