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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 10915
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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Hello We have a huge and last minute problem around an unexpected

Customer Question

Hello
We have a huge and last minute problem around an unexpected default on a credit report for a bill which we paid in the end - it concerned fees levied when we switched broadband suppliers after moving house to an area not covered by Virgin - and we never saw the default letter.

Virgin refuses to remove the default and it is blocking our mortgage and house purchase. We are in our 50s and have 20 years of perfect payments of all bills, this seems to us punitive and catastrophically disproportionate. Is there any legal leg to stand on when we write to the CEO of virgin media?
Sorry if this is not property law, please re assign if necessary.
Thanks
Karen McClellan
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.

Alex Watts :

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. There is no need to wait here, you will get an email when I reply.

Alex Watts :

Is the default correct please?

Customer :

there was an option to take the service to a new residence and avoid the fees which were charged, but as we were not able to do this right away (we had to move twice) it was not clear whether the bill for the final agreement cancellation was due or not. Further, we did not receive the letter stating intent to default. we paid after we were able to establish that we would not be able to extend the broadband agreement. So from our view, we did not default. However virgin has changed their policies and no longer has this option for customers who move, and I am sure our case was not investigated thoroughly, they just decided not to remove the default.

Alex Watts :

But is the data accurate?

Customer :

that we did not pay for 6 months, yes, except as I just described as the bill was not necessarily due.

Customer :

isn't there something in law that a penalty should be proportionate?

Alex Watts :

Ok - you have several options:

Alex Watts :

1) Complain to the Information Commissioner

Alex Watts :

They can examine your complaint for free

Alex Watts :

They are independent and are based at: www.ico.gov.uk

Alex Watts :

2) Or you can take it to Court

Alex Watts :

Section 14 of the Data Protection Act states:

Alex Watts :

If a court is satisfied on the application of a data subject that personal data of which the applicant is the subject are inaccurate, the court may order the data controller to rectify, block, erase or destroy those data and any other personal data in respect of which he is the data controller and which contain an expression of opinion which appears to the court to be based on the inaccurate data.

Alex Watts :

Therefore you can apply to the Court to have it rectified, blocked or destoyed.

Alex Watts :

You would need to issue proceedings for this using form N1

Alex Watts :

http://hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk/courtfinder/forms/n001-eng.pdf

Alex Watts :

The Court would then list the matter and decide whether to make the order

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Customer :

isn't that a very expensive way to proceed? What is the best way to threaten action without actually taking it, is there anything which can get the CEO's attention about this case? Doesn't the company have to issue a letter stating that they will be issuing a default before doing so? Is there no consumer body which can help with this?

Alex Watts :

The only thing you can do is go to the ICO

Alex Watts :

They are a consumer / government body

Customer :

isn't there an ombudsman or someone who governs situations where there is a disputed bill? I am American and this extremely harsh situation is unheard of in the US.

Customer :

also, what about the principle of proportionality of penalty?

Alex Watts :

The Data Protection Act does not cover that

Alex Watts :

The information is either accurate or it is not

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything else?

Customer :

so it is accepted fact here that if you dont pay one diluted bill you can't get a mortgage for 6 years and no one has challenged the legality of that in court.

Alex Watts : That is why you need to go to the ICO.
Alex Watts : i can only tell you sadly what the law is.
Alex Watts : I know this may not be the answer you want nor the one I want to give, but I have a duty to be honest.
Customer :

thank you.

Alex Watts : If this answers your question could I invite you leave feedback on my service which I hope has been excellent today, if you need more information or help then please click reply.Please remember that I am always happy to help if you have future questions, even if I am in Court I can normally respond within a few hours. For future information, please start them with ‘For Alex W’.Please bookmark my profile if you wish for future help: http://www.justanswer.co.uk/law/expert-alexwatts/
Alex Watts :

Please remember to leave feedback before you go

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