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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
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Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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Hello, I need some feedback regarding a letter I am about

Customer Question

Hello,

I need some feedback regarding a letter I am about to send. Can you please let me know whether the letter is clear, the claim is justified and the compensation (including breakdown) make sense.

many thanks!
y.

======================

Negligence in Handling an Identity Fraud Incident

I have been a victim of identity fraud – spent months trying to clear my name. This is a difficult and long experience. Alarmingly long, in your case:

07/10: A fraudulent Vanquis Visa Card application has been made using my details

03/11 : £482 default was registered for this account. The debt was sold to Arrow Global.

08/12 : A credit report from Experian exposed five fraudulent records in addition to the one from Arrow Global. Arrow Global received (and acknowledged) a letter disputing the debt (with all details). At this point, I reported the incident to the police, contacted all relevant organizations and hence assumed that the issue has been resolved.

04/13 : A mortgage application to Barclays was deferred due to outstanding defaults in my credit file (and despite an excellent internal record). They were willing to approve the mortgage on condition of receiving formal letters from the lenders acknowledging the fraud.

Using Experian’s CreditExpert product I found that the record with Arrow Global had not been resolved. I contacted Arrow Global again, urging them to solve the issue promptly (emphasizing the urgency of the mortgage application). After chasing Arrow Global time and again I was told that the issue should be investigated by Vanquis – and hence the delay. I was advised to contact Vanquis directly.

05/13 : I started the process (yet again) this time with Vanquis.

06/13 : Vanquis resolved the issue. I was told that it might take a couple of weeks for my credit file to be updated. The credit file was not updated. I contacted Experian directly who explained that since Arrow Global registered the record, Vanquis cannot remove it. They offered to mediate.

07/13 : I chased Experian which chased Arrow Global.

08/13 : Experian conclude: “Arrow Global have asked us to keep the account entry dated 16/07/2010 on your credit report. They have asked that you contact them directly”.

I contacted Arrow Global once again. At this point, to my astonishment, I was notified by, one, Oliver Smith that “there are no records regarding our correspondence about this incident”. Once confronting this, he confirmed that the first record “in the system” dated July/13.

Oliver asked me to provide the crime reference number (again) and promised that the issue will be investigated. I chased Arrow Global regarding the status and was told that a letter was sent to me (12/08/12) where I should declare (again) that the account was fraudulent.

At this point, I am about to give up.

You were quite prompt to execute your right to put a record in my credit file. Taking more than a year, after receiving all details, to investigate (rather than resolve) the issue is clearly an abuse of your right.

For more than a year now, I am guilty (until proven innocent). In order to avoid both the humiliation as well as the negative effect on my credit score I am deprived of even basic services. For example, I do not feel comfortable to apply for a mobile phone contract. I cannot change my Internet / TV provider. Much worse, though, as mentioned in the beginning of the letter, I was planning to buy a house in April this year; however, Barclays did not approve my mortgage application because you never followed up your investigation.

You mentioned that you could not resolve this issue since the debt was, originally, Vanquis. Even if this is the case, I still hold you responsible as Arrow Global, rather than Vanquis put the record in my credit file. Hence, it is your liability to resolve the case. Also, in comparison, my issue has been resolved much quicker with all other debt collection agencies / lenders.

In summary,

Your lack of competence caused me a great deal of distress – in addition to time loss and other financial opportunities, which I was not able to pursue.

I would like you to pay to me the amount of £96,000 in compensation for the time, humiliation, distress and lost opportunities that you caused:

£30K – time spent (current base salary * 300% (consultancy rate) * number of days) where 10 working days spend on related issues to the case and 10 on collateral loss (finding properties)

£6K – rent which I would not have paid otherwise

£10K - gap in mortgage rate / house prices

£50K - humiliation and distress

I urge you to resolve the issue as soon as possible
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 3 years ago.

AlexWatts2013 :

Hello my name is Alex and I will help you with this. Please note that I am a working Solicitor and may be on and offline as I have to attend Court and meet with clients, even at weekends. As such you may not get an instant response when you reply as this is not an ‘on demand’ live service, but rest assured I will be giving your question my immediate attention upon return.

AlexWatts2013 :

For now please let me know if you were registered with CIFAS?

JACUSTOMER-jykougtj- :

Yes. As mentioned in the letter - I already resolved 5 / 6 outstanding cases. I.e., disputing five alleged debts with five different lenders. Registering with CIFAS was part of the process.

AlexWatts2013 :

Have you made any application to the Court regarding any unresolved defaults on your credit file?

AlexWatts2013 :

Are you there?

Expert:  Ash replied 3 years ago.
I have switched format to question and answer. How many defaults now show on your credit file?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Sorry. I am at work.


 


There is only one unresolved default. I managed to solve all others by communicating directly with the lenders - so, I never needed to apply for court before.


 


At the moment, I am thinking of sending the letter directly to Arrow Global, hoping that they will:


 


1) resolve the debt


2) pay / suggest to settle


 


Then, to think of next steps.

Expert:  Ash replied 3 years ago.
Thats ok, just respond when you can. How do you quantify your loss, I mean can you evidence it?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

well, I tried -


 


I break it down to:


 


1) time spent dealing with the case


2) as a consequence to their negligence - I lost an opportunity to buy a property. So, taking into account the time spent on that, as well as the potential loss in term of mortgage rate / property value / paid rent


3) compensation for harassment - which i define as: they reported an alleged debt which compromised my ability to pursue various financial goals (even as simple as getting a contract with a mobile). They were negligent in investigating / resolving this. So, say, from the point of contact (12 months ago) it should not have taken more than a month. This implies that they are responsible for 11 months.


 


I claim to have spent about 10 days - communicating with Arrow Global / Vanquis, writing the letters, communicating with you / other advisors regarding the matter.


 


additional 10 days - reviewing properties online, scoping areas. This time was wasted because Arrow Global did not resolve my case and hence the mortgage application was rejected.


 


So, 20 days * base current salary * 300% (take it to be a 'consultancy' rate) is ~ 30K


 


If I could bought the property I would not have needed to pay rent (so, about 6K)


 


I am not sure whether or not the value of properties has gone up -- if so, and if I cannot get similar conditions for my mortgage , I would like to have this as well. I estimated this by £10K - but I am not sure.


 


Finally, but quite importantly, is compensation for the stress, dealing with the matter, the humiliation (being refused a mortgage), as well as the consequences - my inability to get basic services and lead normal life. It is difficult to put a price on this, I suggested £50K


 

Expert:  Ash replied 3 years ago.
Why are you charging 300%? Why is it not actual time that you are claiming for? If you brought the property would you not have been required to pay the mortgage? What id the difference between rent and mortgage repayments? How have you calculated the figure of £60k for stress?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Regarding time - it is difficult to assess exactly how much I spent, during the last year, about this. So, it is an estimation. Regarding rate - I take it to be my full time pro rata salary * 300% because I spent my free time working on this, for which, if I were to provide a service I would have asked more. Not sure whether or not it makes sense.


 


Regarding rent vs. mortgage repayments -- the principle difference is that rent is "wasted money" while mortgage is used to get a property. My view is that I am 5 months behind in my plan and hence rather than investing in a property, I am wasting on rent.


 


To be honest, I do not have an exact metric for the £50K for stress -- that is something that accompany now for over a year and definitely affected my quality of life. I feel that it should be higher than the overall other figure - but I do not know how one typically estimates / justifies this.


 


 

Expert:  Ash replied 3 years ago.
And what is it you would like to know from me about this?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Well, I would like a feedback about:
1) is the original letter clear ? How would you suggest me to modify it to make it better ? Should I send it via a solicitor ?
2) can the claim - negligence , the way I describe it, stand in court?
3) am I likely to get compensations ? If so, what are the chances to get the full 96K ? Does the breakdown make sense ? If no, what would you suggest me to change ? From your experience, what would be a reasonable amount to ask for the stress they caused me ?

Thanks!
Expert:  Ash replied 3 years ago.
1) I think you need to modify it and suggest how you set out your losses. I think my concers have already been outlined, you can only claim for time lost not x3 that figure, you can not claim both rent back and then not pay what would have been the capital repayment, you are claiming in effect twice for the same thing. I also have concerns about £50,000 for humiliation and stress, that figure simply can not be qualified. If you went to court the court may award you £1000 maximum that is it.

2) You can claim yes, you need to set out that there was a duty of care, that duty was breached and you suffered as a result. However you are more likely to succeed with breach of contract by failing to act with all reasonable skill and care.

3) You may get something. But you would only get actual losses incurred plus compensation. But you need to prove the losses and be able to evdidence it. The issue here is that if it goes to court the losing party normally pays the other sides costs. Therefore if you claimed £106,000 as you are doing but only awarded £10,000 the judge is likely to order that you pay the other sides costs because the majority of the claim has not succeeded. Therefore you would be well in only claiming what you can evidence and show.

Can I clarify anything? Alex

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