Finding your financial rating

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What follows is not a huge gripe by me, or a rant shouted at the world
about my misfortunes and woe, as I have already settled,
or am settling my differences with said recalcitrant firms
as we speak. No, that is for YOU to avoid the same problems,
or to learn how to overcome them. As on all the rest of this
website, the aim is to help, and I am very computer literate
and share my experience and expertise freely to aid others.
Read on, email if necessary, and I WILL help you,
these unecessary and serious actions annoy me.

I used to ignore the frequent emails about my financial history,
perhaps I should have given it more thought, in light of
what has happened since, swallowing up most of this year.
What follows is true and is still ongoing as we speak.
You may need help if you eventually decide you have the
same or similar problems. If so and you cannot find out
what you need to do here, then just email me on
and I will try to help out when I can, as I know only too well
how frustrating and really seriously annoying that is,
and believe me have copious knowledge of how it all
works by now, unfortunately.

Your financial history.

You may well be blissfully unaware anything whatsoever
is amiss, until you come to try and raise money, whether in
the form of a loan, or as some new card application.
The two Main searches govern your face to the
financial world, and make or break your credibility.
Take my recent experience with Household Bank,
whom I paid off in full last February, since agreed
by them as being uncontrovertibly true.

They spent three months however at the time phoning
me at home in the evening and sending letters very
persistently claiming I still owed them money.
This irritating and very intrusive badgering proceeded
until August, unbelievably, when their Branch Governess
managed to assert some common sense into a farce.

Everyone agreed the loan had been cleared and all seemed
blissfully over. Not so. In February, they had flagged up both the main search people with both myself and also my partner as in serious arrears of over 2000 pounds and having missed one or more months on numerous occasions, totally erroneously. This virtually brands you as unclean and untouchable, yet you do not know unless you look at your own files, and only you can get them amended back to reality, due to data protection contingencies. Both firms help you chide the recalcitrant problem firms you are trying to deal with in order to rectify your ratings and reputation, but only the firms in error can actually amend the data, and you have to keep on to them constantly until they see fit to comply, often where it took them seconds to flag you up, it takes literally months to get them to rescind their derogatory and defamatory, plus erroneous data. Meantime all the world sees you as charlatan.

These files can be accessed as below on the respective websites.

www uk experian com

that is easier to read for beginners
and more likely to be used than Equifax,
though I suggest this look at both now and then
is worth a go, often they have a one off free
look, well worth the time believe me.

In my case on seeing mine and my partners files at both places, not only was the Household Bank data incredibly badly wrong, but also that of Lloyds, Barclaycard, Halifax, and Orange, Texaco, Severn Trent, plus a catalogue Kays, I had paid off in full was not showing as such, since amicably amended.

The Halifax one was as with the Lloyds and Barclaycard, to whit the direct debits in all cases either had not been set up correctly or did not exist when they should have done. In fact Halifax may well have been me being a little obtuse rather than directly their liability, in any event they were very equable about it all. Also Barclaycard were showing the wrong account number to pay online in Lloyds online automated transfer list, hence two payments went into the ether and back before rectification. Lloyds were trying to debit from their current account of mine to their card of mine using a valid direct debit of their own last month and somehow still managed to flag me up as late payer, although everything was in house to Lloyds, work that one out.

It is truly astonishing just how easy it is to be branded delinquent. Often money comes in and out on the same day, but the banks process the debit before the plusses, and if you go over the top often flag you up as such on these files, totally beyond your knowledge in the back ground.

These details are mentioned not as derogatory, but as an example of how ridiculously easy it is to be flagged up as Mr bad risk without your knowing, and also how bloody difficult and lengthy it is afterwards to remove these stigma from where it took merely seconds to place them on in the first place. The files roll over to outside world viewing only monthly, so even if you get all your data rectified taking a month or so lapse time, it may well be nearly a further month before this hits the presses, in
the intervening two months you either have no ratings or higher interest
rates than are necessary. You can manually dispute a rejection by printing
off your file when cleared and taking your letter with you proving the rejection
was wrong, else not only do you have an erroneous flag, but also
the reference that a firm searched and you were turned down
as Mr bad risk due to the bad flag. The more times you try for money
with a bad flag, the more rejections pile up on file. Vicious circle, plus
after some while the overall number of searches done in such a short time
count against you too. One has to kill the bad flag, then armed with letters
from experion, equifax and bad firm, actively instruct all firms who
searched to rescind their bad risk search data on the files.
Thats why its a good idea to look at the files first before instigating
searches, however unblemished you feel that you are. There really are MANY
mistakes on these files, and its up to you solely to remove them, however
unfair that might be.
I digress.

Consider my consternation then when Household Bank only cleared the arrears, and said it was all cleared in November, not February. Amazingly, to further compound this disastrous situation, leaving the recalcitrant data about numerous bad months where we had both seemingly neglected to pay, on there. So all the world saw the debt was cleared at long last, but still thought there had been bad payment months along the way and recently at that, notwithstanding the loan had been totally cleared in February. You feel paranoid, or that you are going mad.

This also took another month to get rectified and still is not on show to the external world. Everyone who did a search has had to be informed the data was totally flawed in writing. That is a bit like telling the jury to disregard what they just heard, it has still been said has it not.

During all this time I have not been able to either raise money or open cards. All my cards that were on 0 per cent tripped over to full amount as I could not swap them, and could not use loan money to pay them off, even though I am totally acceptable and have not missed any payments on anything for five years since I quit drinking and smoking plus reinvented myself. Likewise also my partner, as we had a joint loan at HFC, she has never owed anything badly EVER. So neither of us could raise a bean, thanks to these files and Banks over dependence on computers
to do the work Bank Managers once had discretion over. Most Banks Managers cannot override their own computer, the subject of serious discussion with
Lloyds, top level, as we speak.
Search for Stiffsteiffs Chairman on google for detail if necessary.

Lately I have also had to pay out subscriptions and way more numerous to mention search fees, totaling together over 600 pounds in extra card interests and search fees and subscriptions. This could have been alleviated if had known sooner I was wrongly flagged as bad boy.

I suggest that it is not a bad move to suss out your own current status on the two agency sites, or at least one of them, to get some flavour as to how you currently rate, believe me I wish that I had done earlier than I did. So now I reiterate their addresses below for those who need them. As with everything else on this site I make no profit from this in any way shape or form.

Household Bank were sent an email from myself demanding action, and delimiting my out of pocket expenses, notwithstanding the months that they badgered me for non Owings, and the time, petrol and phone costs allied to the direct costs above. Plus the original stress of being accused of owing what I did not, coupled with the ensuing trauma attendant to their wrongly flagging up the files to deny me valid visability. It should be noted here that whilst you are wrongly flagged you can raise no money at all anywhere, except back where the flagging originated, albeit at higher interest rates. A coincidence no doubt it takes so very long to process, and in the meantime you are stranded without a paddle, except to crawl back to the originator.
Makes you wonder.

Household Bank offered me 50 pounds in recompense for all the hassle above, which I declined as derisory out of hand.

To avoid similar long winded, and long drawn out stress and strain it may well be useful to look at your own files yourself. Links reprinted below for ease of access.

www uk experian com

Remember, this does not only affect whether or not you qualify for loans, cards or balance transfers etc, it also governs what rate of interest you will be charged by how good or bad you are deemed to be on these files. You can have never at any time defaulted on anything in your life, and know it to be so, yet your files may say different, and paint this picture you cannot even conceive.

More bizarrely still, in this day and age, my own Bank Manageress is totally conversant with the fact that my files are screwed up, and has letters and faxes to that effect, but until these files clear and allow her Banks computers to verify that is indeed so, then her hands are tied. Effectively it is the computers making the decisions and no discretionary override is possible, regardless of good intent and top professional ability. Until you rate ok you do not qualify for loans or cards. Period. That bad. So you have to go down to every firm that has anything bad to say about you and get them to remove it if at all possible.

Firms also put ccjs against your address, which can often occur when you are away on holiday or in hospital, or simply gets lost in the post. ccjs often also occur erroneously and can also only be removed by the originator. I must admit I thought that it was incumbent on the file owners of these two large searches to keep them accurate, however it is up to us solely to dispute the data where necessary, and although they will chivvy the data provider, in the final instance it is also up to us in order to ensure this data now is re provided by the originator in accurate form to the search people, not just tell them both and assume it will be done. You must follow it all through to completion yourself, however lengthy tedious and frustrating it becomes.
This involves premium rate lines to menus and huge delays on hold, where
though they are in error you fund them via your phone bill being split between them and said phone company, yet it pays to be friendly when you finally
speak to a human on the ladder of humans until you find one that both knows what they are doing and is in a position to do something about it.
Do not assume even then that what they say will be done, other departments
will mess it up or simply forget it or lose it. You must chase it through to
oblivion and beyond before it finally gets done. All on premium lines.
All of which make money for the firm that made the mistake in the first place.
It can get very depressing and extremely annoying. Persevere, always mention
28 day by law from first contact. If it does go over, when you have sorted it, sue them for stress, premium rate phone costs, cards tripping over, fraud,
defamation of character and restraint of trade, all of which are true if bad
data is left on there more than 28 days from notification. Contact them first
then sue in court if they fail to respond.

In the meantime you can though post a notice of dispute
on your files, which makes them have to be read manually not
automated, and also flags up the salient data as unreliable
whilst under investigation.

Amazingly, since writing this, I find that though I paid off
Kays catalogue way early in full, and am in fact 40 pounds in hand on a 3000 pound account, because the electronic transfer took an admittedly astounding twelve days to complete, thanks to Lloyds, I have been deemed a late payer and flagged as such for December as current and very harmful defraud flag. That is on an account I paid off ten months early. I appealed to their sense of reason and fairness so await their decision, meanwhile I am yet again flagged up as unworthy despite the fact I pay all my bills punctiliously. Dec 31st.

Below is a breakdown of final results.

Hfc Trust After long and very protracted discourse, still
await their compensation for actual
monies lost due to paying full
price on cards that should have got
transferred, and considerable costs
on Equifax and Experion due to sheer
length of negotiations. Have asked me
to prove all these with copious paperwork.
Have told them if have to dredge up
paperwork it will be in court for
meaningful compensation. Await response,
Very poor.
Individual staff helpful but firm a problem.

Eventually received compensation of 500 pounds. Was flagged up
in February 2003, harassed till August, flags removed
mid December, compensation following January 2004.
Halifax Although at least half my fault, sorted. Excellent response. The only one I might have agreed could be fair enough, gave me the absolute least
hassle. Top drawer.

Kays Online people sorted things twice.General attitude is friendly, lets sort it out. Computer generates too many problems
which people have then to sort out.

Lloyds Exceptional Online Help has nearly now Sorted this out,from the Contact Us department online, all mainly Mr K. Boden.This has been
a truly dire experience mitigated by the excellent Keith Boden and
Gill Rudrum. I am so incensed by a litany of a years stress,
that I have written directly to the Chairman. Will report his verdict.

see lloyds chairman letter

for ongoing saga now sent to Watchdog and the Times 15th march 2005.

Texaco. No problem here, and very polite and helpful,
unfortunately they are underwritten by Lloyds who
generated similar problems as when the direct supplier,
and took ages just to remove them, also covered in
letter to Lloyds Chairman.

Orange. Original problems were due to intransigence
and misselling. Averted by class act lady
troubleshooter for chairman, and my contract
was wiped clean and was given a free phone.
Needless to say, since I have looked on Equifax,
there is a bad payer reference associated to
old address. Despite email, phone, and copious
letter explanation I have not even been
acknowledged except by their email
auto answer, let alone had even a reply.
I am swapping both phones to vodaphone
as soon after as I get all these files sorted.
I have never dealt with a worse firm
than Orange, whose departments seem to
operate in vacuums from one another and
no one seems authorised to make decisions.
I only got any sense in the first place after
4 months persistence and going right to the very
top. The woman I dealt with did have
clout and was first class. I suspect she will
be working for a better firm by now.
Words cannot express how much of a
dire experience Orange have been.

Addendum, yet another class act woman
at Orange high up, Marie Perry, sorted
this one out, very professionally and
very cordially. In marked contrast to
previous attitudes. This woman was top notch.

Barclaycard Despite being the most blatantly
A mistake, not a missed payment,
Completely refused to amend at all,
though tried via post, email and phone.
In this particular instance two successive monthly payments had gone
to the wrong account number. They in time returned, and
this was sorted out and has run fine ever since. I have even
now set up a direct debit to stop this happening, however
Barclays, despite being approached by mail, phone and
email, refused to amend their derogatory flags on Experion
and Equifax. This over Christmas and the New Year, when
supposedly at their most equable and helpful.

Out of all the above, only Halifax was down to a real tangible
and identifiable possible fault on my part. I did not
get a postal statement and thus paid late online, a bit on
both sides, but contrast the difference with Barclaycard,
Halifax gave common sense the nod where they could
have been just as intransigent, but were not.

Throughout, D. Laxa at Experion has been
head and shoulders professional and helpful.

Perhaps the time has come to seriously question
the motives of Banks and finance companies,
who loan what cannot be repaid, take 3 to 5 whole
days to process cheques AND electronic transfers,
the latter of which should take seconds not days,
who process debits before plusses then charge
for being overdrawn, who flag people in seconds
on files which then takes a month or so
to rectify, during which time your money is frozen.
Who hound you by phoning at night and even on
Sundays at HOME as if it is their right to intrude.
Without customers there would be no banks, and
many online finance institutions are now springing
up with none of this baggage in tow.

It seems that instead of genuinely addressing customer
concerns, in an attempt to rectify situations swiftly
and efficiently, firms are putting you on the complaint
conveyor to hell and hoping you fall off or fall asleep
trying to get any sense or recompense there, or actual
remedial action. It seems a deliberate ploy to count on your lack of persistence or time not to mention actual money wasted in trying to contact them through phone lines on hold or on menus or being passed backwards and forwards.
Yet if you are persistent you become regarded as an irritant, unnecessary burden and pariah. If things were right in the first place we would not have recourse to complain, and having done so we should be heard swiftly, dealt with fairly and our out of pocket contact expenses should also be met, mainly extortionate phone bills on lines meant to keep you on as long elaped time as possible.
I suggest a register of firms should be set up listing their intransigence to complaint and propensity to using phone delaying tactics, actually defrauding customers of money. I also suggest every first menu should have the talk to a human option, and that you only get charged from when you actually talk to a human, not holding in queues or wading through menus you neither want nor need.

Malc Pugh, December 19th 2004.


October 20th 2005.

Incredibly, since when I actually got both Experion and
Equifax completely pristine, I decided to change
Banks to Halifax from Lloyds.
Bad move.

That is automated, but takes a while to leave one
and arrive at the other so to speak, a crossover
grey area period.

During the interim paid the Lloyds loan via a one off card
payment, on time, and sent off an electronic payment to Halifaxes
card. Both were flagged up as bad flags on Experion and
Equifax as the Lloyds computer still tried to use a non extant
direct debit, and Lloyds took 8 days to send the money to
Halifax, arriving one day late.

So even when you swop banks to escape, it follows you
about like the fourth horseman.

August 6th 05.
HFC Trust aka Household Bank, despite catalogue
of errors below, despite having had to pay me 500
pounds compensation for defamation of character
on Experion and Equifax, now have put on a brand
new loan on both of these. Problem being I have NO
loan with them in any shape or form whatsoever.
It reads that I owe them over three grand at 84 per month
and I have paid ok for three.

Seems ok. But there is NO loan. Assume they bad flag you.
I would have a bad flag against my loan that was non extant,
also showing me as more over stretched than I am financially.
Who could Joe Public turn to then when denied money due to
their so called error. Why friendly HFC of course, who would
have to charge them a higher rate of interest as they were in
bad flags at Experion and Equifax.

Experion are fortunately reputable and on the ball, and I regularly
suss out my files. That is insidious though as to start with there
is only a new record ostensibly green and pristine, some might
ignore it anyway as causing no real harm, but it will when
flagged non paid. This to me is pure fraud, how can the record
appear in the first place, as I have no dealings with them and
have not for 13 months except to wrangle with them over a
catalogue of errors which is laid out below and hard to believe.

Extremely useful booklet
can be sent for from the Information commissioner, at
Information Commissioners office
Wycliffe House,
Water Lane,
sk9 5af.
publications line there is 08453 091091
Data Protection helpline there 01625 545745.

Total financial disasters on this page were caused jointly by Lloyds Bank
and HFC Trust aka Household Bank. Be very wary of both were I you.

No probs firms I deal with so far are Mint, Halifax One, Morgan Stanley, Capital One, Shell.

Especially good are Shell, who have never been anything but efficient and helpful.
Just when you think that you are safe. Astonishing addendum to unmitigated disasters below.
As of Feb 26th, EVERY single erroneous instance was zapped, save for Barclaycard
who were the ONLY FIRM to completely refuse to amend known proved erroneous data,
though contacted by phone, letter, and email. Point blank refusal out of hand.

Picture my disbelief when I went down in score on Equifax yet again.
Kays catalogue, whom I have paid in full and owed NOTHING at all since December,
tried to bill me in February and as there was obviously no direct debit for a dead wrong
account on my system for a firm I owed nothing, failed in their erroneous billing.
You guessed it, they also flagged up Equifax, who accepted it even though their own
system has me down as having satisfied the account in December.
So dont assume nothing can ever happen to you. Ever.

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near enough, but so far Luigi he is patient.