Financial laws in the United Kingdom allow consumers to not only be allowed access to the credit report but to also be provided a written copy of the latest records from credit reporting or referencing companies. Section 7 of the 1998 Data Protection Act, effective in the entire United Kingdom, made it possible by national law to request credit records. This consumer right doesn’t come free, as companies are allowed to charge a nominal £2 fee per request, but it does provide a requesting party the same information that banks and creditors see when evaluating a loan or credit card application.
The above said, there is a specific protocol that should be followed when making a credit report copy request from an agency. The requesting letter should include the below information:
• The full, legal name of the requesting person, including any legal names used prior to marriage.
• A legal mail address including the previous address if a person has just moved within the last year.
• The requesting party’s birthdate.
• A personal cheque or a post office money order for the amount of £2 and cashable by the receiving reporting agency.
If the credit reporting agency can find the records with the above information, the request will be processed and a report sent. However, where a request is not possible to fulfill with the above information, a credit reporting agency is allowed to ask for additional references. Companies are also allowed to ask for proof of identification to make sure they are sending the credit report to the subject of the information. Proof of identification can be provided via copy of a driver’s license or with a copy of a utility invoice or bank account record. While it make seem that the reporting agency is being stubborn, they are in fact making sure a mistake is not made or identity theft is not occurring. The credit report process will even work for small business owners who are the primary owner on record or a business partner of record as well.
Whenever making a credit report request, a party should always keep a copy of the communication that was originally sent. It also helps any argument that request was made if the sender keeps a record of the mail being sent by registered delivery. This helps avoid any problems when a credit report agency argues it never received a request, especially when such agencies have seven working days to respond timely.
Credit reporting agencies are limited to three of the main players in the industry. That said, each agency will keep a somewhat different version and set of data from the others. So if a person really wants to know when his total report looks like, request should be made to all three companies. The following addresses are where the contact letters should be sent for a related credit report copies:
Consumer Services Team
PO Box 491
tel: 0870 060 1414
Credit File Advice Centre
PO Box 1140
tel: 0870 010 0583 (for enquiries once you have your credit reference file)
Consumer Help Service
PO Box 8000
tel: 0844 481 8000
Below a template example is provided for how to write a request to a credit reporting agency for a personal credit report:
Requesting Party Name
123 Any Street
23 April 2004
RE: Request for personal credit report.
Dear Credit Reporting Agency Representative,
Pursuant to law enacted under Section 7 of the Data Protection Act 1998, I am requesting an up-to-date copy of my current credit report and related file which reflects data that impacts my personal credit status and rating. Attached you will find a personal cheque in the amount of £2 to address the related processing fee.
I have resided at the same address specified above for the last three years to date. Additionally, my prior residence and mailing address was at 789 High Street, Anytown, A43 9DF.
I will be expect a written response to the request to be processed and sent within seven working days of your office obtaining receipt of this request.
Birthdate: 1 January 1969