Information to help you deal with your CRF's

Moderators: TalbotWoods, JaneClack

By frank drebin
#470963 Hello all, long time lurker here. had a few CCJS in the past, now paying everything back slowly. Anyway, I got my statutory credit report from Equifax the other day.
In 1997 I lived at address A. I took a package out from Virgin media (telewest as it was back then). I moved to address B in 1999 and cancelled and took a new Virgin package.
15 years later, I discover that Address A is linked to me via Virgin, and it shows an account at that address paid up to date but with a £10 balance! Only the last 4 digits of the account number are shown, and it isn't mine - I have another Virgin account on my files which is mine. I contacted Equifax and got the standard generic reply with a copy of the FAQs - no help at all. I re-messaged them and await their response. Whats going on ? Should I contact Virgin? Not their customer services, surely? I'd never get them to understand.
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By TalbotWoods
#470993 Hi and welcome

Linked addresses are a bit of a mystery, not only to us but to Credit Reference Agencies.

In this case I think I know what may have happened.

When you moved form A to B that address would have been linked.

You cancelled the OLD accounts and started NEW, but as a customer if there was any balance either credit or debit, it would keep the link in place.

Virgin over time have changed card/account providers, and any dormant cards/accounts would be assigned a dormant account number, this is to make accounting a lot easier for them. I can vouch for this personally as I have one, but only with a 3p credit balance!

So it is very very possible that all the information is correct, but why they didn't tell you there was a credit balance is another matter.

Remember linked addresses DO NOT affect your credit scores, and are only visible to YOU and the ACCOUNT holder, and they drop of 7 years (yes I know and it is because of the accounting laws) from when BOTH the accounts that caused the link are closed fully, so it is possible to have some going back 20 or 30 years.

So at this stage wait and see what the CRA replies back, and if not then contact Virgin, but beware that really old account can be highly confusing to customers services!

By frank drebin
#471003 Thanks for your reply.

You say that linked addresses are not visible to others? In the "previous searches" section of my crf, it has the linked address and says it has been searched by some recent credit applications.

says "search reason: Additional Address"

Also, an application my wife made was linked through me (understandably) and to the linked address too! If someone at that address has bad credit, would that might impact me?

As an aside, Virgin reported a late payment on my current Virgin account. It has always been direct debit and never failed. Equifax are looking into that too.

Now, IF Equifax sort it out, I reckon i'll probably have to look at Call credit and Experian too.
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By TalbotWoods
#471023 OK the goal posts have move a little here, becasue of a joint assocation.

Let me expand each on each point.

Firstly if you have any joint associations, such as joint bank accounts, joint mortgages, etc, then yes a search on your partners CRF WILL mean a search on your CRF, but NOT A VISUAL search.

This has always has, and always will be the case.

OK I know this isnt the case here but to be blunt, in the past some partners have used partners to 'hide' unethical debts/loans/business/bankruptcies and as such there is a legal and ethical responsible to ensure that potential lenders from potential fraudulent deceptions. This is why when there is financial link under law they MUST check all the information is correct, and if that upsets someone, then it will upset them.

It is also for this reason that all debt advisers will strongly suggest that if one person is in debt that they separate financial associations if at all possible.

If you have NO joint association, then all then can do as part of the Money Laundering Regulations is an identity and address check. If she has said you are her partner, they will check this is probably the case, i.e. you you might have the same surnames, lived at the same addresses, etc. You will be surprised how many failed applications for credit I am aware of where a single person has invented a partner to boost income levels, to try and get a disastrous loan!

So ID and address checks on all tackable past addresses is normal, but it will be a score and not the actual details

Secondly, from what you have said as you have had CCJs, it appears there are joint associations, as these WILL be noted on a search of your wife CRF.

HOWEVER, they cannot see your Credit File without YOUR express permission, what they get is an automatic score of YOUR risk. They can see ALL the relevant data on your partners file, but can ONLY get a numerical score for yours.

Just for example, let say your wife has applied for credit and told the lender she has lived at the same address for 10 years, then the creditor can check the entries on her file, but because of the association they can check to see if yours has the same information. BUT they will get a score of 2 for yes, 1 for some of the same info, and 0 for you haven't lived there, etc. They CANNOT see what is actually on the file.

Thirdly, as I have already said, you will need to see what Virgin say about the old account and this missed payment, but it is very possible Virgin may tell the Credit Agency that Virgins information is correct, so the Credit Agency will bat it back to you to contact and deal with Virgin directly.

Be aware, this is normally the case with Call Credit, they about 99.9% of the time tell you to contact the account holder, and annoying though it is, under current data law, if the creditor tells the CRA that the information is correct, that is the end of the CRAs responsibility!