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MSE News: Water bills to be added to credit reports
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# 1
MSE Helen
Old 18-02-2013, 12:33 PM
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Default MSE News: Water bills to be added to credit reports

"Paying water bills on time could help you get a credit card or mortgage, as Yorkshire Water accounts will be tracked..."

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Water bills to be added to credit reports



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# 2
zerog
Old 18-02-2013, 12:59 PM
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Well even if this comes in for the rest of the country, Experian can't seem to find half of the accounts at my address so lenders wouldn't see it anyway
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# 3
wakeupalarm
Old 18-02-2013, 3:25 PM
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Do they disclose the amount of the bills/payments as well?
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# 4
Experian company representative
Old 18-02-2013, 4:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zerog View Post
Well even if this comes in for the rest of the country, Experian can't seem to find half of the accounts at my address so lenders wouldn't see it anyway
Zerog

If your report is still incomplete please drop us a line and we'll investigate for you - customerrelations@uk.experian.com

Thanks
James Jones
Official Company Representative
I am an official company representative of Experian. MSE has given permission for me to post in response to queries about the company, so that I can help solve issues. You can see my name on the companies with permission to post list. I am not allowed to tout for business at all. If you believe I am please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com This does NOT imply any form of approval of my company or its products by MSE"

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# 5
Buzby
Old 18-02-2013, 5:03 PM
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Does not apply to Scotland, as water charges are billed via Council Tax and are not separate. As for for helping Experian make their database more accurate - that's a laugh. Perhaps if they paid for your executive input it might be a consideration, but for free?

C'mon!

On a different topic - the DPA requires consumers to give 'informed consent' to allow a firm share your financial dealings with any CRA. This means the utilities must seek the approval of their customer. You are not forced or obliged to agree to let them do this, so since the usual recourse is for the firm to decline giving you a service as they insist on compliance.

But water? This is a human right - what company is going to cut someone off because the refuse to share their details with a CRA? This could be fun!

Last edited by Buzby; 18-02-2013 at 5:10 PM.
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# 6
Cardew
Old 18-02-2013, 5:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buzby View Post

On a different topic - the DPA requires consumers to give 'informed consent' to allow a firm share your financial dealings with any CRA. This means the utilities must seek the approval of their customer. You are not forced or obliged to agree to let them do this, so since the usual recourse is for the firm to decline giving you a service as they insist on compliance.
I hope you are correct. However that statement is in conflict with this in the OP's article.

Quote:
Experian has been adding accounts to its database over the past few weeks, with all five million Yorkshire customers now on its system.
Perhaps the Experian rep could comment.
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# 7
Experian company representative
Old 18-02-2013, 5:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wakeupalarm View Post
Do they disclose the amount of the bills/payments as well?
wakeupalarm

For each month, you can expect to see details of any payment due along with any outstanding balance, plus a status code to show whether any previous payments are still outstanding.

James Jones
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I am an official company representative of Experian. MSE has given permission for me to post in response to queries about the company, so that I can help solve issues. You can see my name on the companies with permission to post list. I am not allowed to tout for business at all. If you believe I am please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com This does NOT imply any form of approval of my company or its products by MSE"

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# 8
Experian company representative
Old 18-02-2013, 5:39 PM
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Buzby

Customer agreement is obtained through a privacy notice at the outset of the relationship, which is an annual contract. The data sharing is not optional but required by the supplier in order to provide the service. We have worked with the regulators and consumer organisations to agree how this should be done for water accounts in a fair and consistent manner, so it is certainly compliant.

James Jones
Official Company Representative
I am an official company representative of Experian. MSE has given permission for me to post in response to queries about the company, so that I can help solve issues. You can see my name on the companies with permission to post list. I am not allowed to tout for business at all. If you believe I am please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com This does NOT imply any form of approval of my company or its products by MSE"

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# 9
mcbob
Old 18-02-2013, 6:51 PM
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Default Is water a credit agreement?

Quote:
The data sharing is not optional but required by the supplier in order to provide the service
So if I refuse to agree to this vital data sharing, the water company can't complete it's service?

Can someone still be supplied water if they refuse to do this?

I for see people being cut off or denied access to water due to adverse credit...or being forced into paying punitive rates... either way it's bad news for the consumer.

I have plenty of bank accounts/credit cards you already report on, which is fine as they are credit agreements - so why expand into an area which is patently NOT CREDIT.

This is nothing more than revenue making opportunity for Experian - yet another data land grab. When will it stop? Medical records? Fingerprints? DNA?

Last edited by mcbob; 19-02-2013 at 12:29 PM. Reason: typos
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# 10
Cardew
Old 18-02-2013, 6:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Experian company representative View Post
Buzby

Customer agreement is obtained through a privacy notice at the outset of the relationship, which is an annual contract. The data sharing is not optional but required by the supplier in order to provide the service. We have worked with the regulators and consumer organisations to agree how this should be done for water accounts in a fair and consistent manner, so it is certainly compliant.

James Jones
Customer's data might be required by the Water Company; but on what grounds should they share that, for every customer, with a commercial organisation like Experian?

It is not as if customers have any choice who supplies their water and sewerage services.

I am not with Yorkshire, but it is inevitable that some customers will strongly object and take the matter further. The Water companies don't give credit.

If your tentacles spread to other water companies - you will have some serious problems with customers going to law on this issue.

This will run and run.

Last edited by Cardew; 18-02-2013 at 6:57 PM.
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# 11
WelshRarebit
Old 18-02-2013, 7:59 PM
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What purpose does this serve? Water companies do not provide credit to the public...they provide a basic human right (albeit an expensive one).......access to clean water. Its not like you can go to another provider like with gas or electricity. Water companies are legally prohibited from cutting off your domestic water supply no matter what state your account with them is in.

This just stinks of banks covertly teaming up with credit reference agencies to get even more data on customers affairs and sticking their noses into things that don't concern them....after all, the only organizations that this data would be of any benefit to are the banks. What next....asking pub landlords to provide data on people who run up tabs behind the bar??
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# 12
Buzby
Old 18-02-2013, 8:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Experian company representative View Post
Buzby

Customer agreement is obtained through a privacy notice at the outset of the relationship, which is an annual contract. The data sharing is not optional but required by the supplier in order to provide the service. We have worked with the regulators and consumer organisations to agree how this should be done for water accounts in a fair and consistent manner, so it is certainly compliant.

James Jones
Hi James,

I can assure you I have not entered into such an agreement, so whilst your response may be valid for those firms whose business model architecture was crafted to need ID or access to information sold by your company and others (and where no 'credit' it supplied, required or relevant), Water Utilities are a different ball game.

Can you advise which of E&W water utilities have in place these 'privacy notices' that explicitly permit personal data to be disclosed to third parties? Customers have every right - should they have been cavalier enough not to notice such a request - to terminate this agreement, and the DPA ensures that such processing must cease. It is not the case that such data useage is irrevocable.

Therefore, if this is part of a 'grand plan' that is now only being made public, then the daa subject (consumer) needs to unpic his cosy arrangement so the done-deal element is redacted.

As I noted earlier, Scottish Water is not party to your arrangement, and I doubt it ever will be. However my original question remains - what utility is going to risk refusal to provide a supply because the customer retains their right to keep their financial affairs private?

Last edited by Buzby; 19-02-2013 at 8:52 AM.
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# 13
jamesd
Old 18-02-2013, 9:37 PM
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James, what did your firm's discussions say about whether consumers had a meaningful choice about whether to accept such agreements or not? With a local monopoly how is there a meaningful option other than to accept the contract?
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# 14
rb10
Old 18-02-2013, 10:11 PM
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Will this cause a financial association between two people both named on the same water bill?
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# 15
Kingchamp
Old 18-02-2013, 10:15 PM
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This is bad news again, this is uneccessary. Whereby my rating shown is 999/1000 i still cant get the credit i want yet (best rates) if i miss one water payment the rating drop would be enormous. Lucky i dont pay the water bill the landlady does!
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# 16
Cardew
Old 18-02-2013, 10:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Experian company representative View Post
Buzby

Customer agreement is obtained through a privacy notice at the outset of the relationship, which is an annual contract. The data sharing is not optional but required by the supplier in order to provide the service. We have worked with the regulators and consumer organisations to agree how this should be done for water accounts in a fair and consistent manner, so it is certainly compliant.

James Jones
Just a further point.

Should not this procedure require an amendment to the Water Act?
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# 17
esmediaz
Old 18-02-2013, 10:41 PM
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Hi, I've never posted here before but have noticed a flaw in this policy change so glaring that I couldn't possibly not comment. I'm a customer of Yorkshire Water, I am billed quarterly and pay on receipt of my bill. I'm sat here now with said bill (for the third quarter of 2012/13) and, whilst it states the amount due and payment options, nowhere does it give a deadline for payment. How can you possibly pay your bill "on time" if no time frame is given???
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# 18
NPowerUser
Old 19-02-2013, 12:59 AM
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Seems a bit draconian from the water companies.

At least with Gas & Electricity, you can perhaps justify paying monthly in advance as you are probably getting a discount in the form of a better deal.

With a water bill, you could pay in advance (monthly), get zero in the way of discounts and can never switch suppliers.

So by signing up for monthly payments in advance for which you are receiving nothing in the way of discounts, if you suddenly stop paying, default notice issued, credit affected.

I prefer paying on receipt of bill and in my opinion, no default notice should be issued if it relates to anything other than the 6 monthly bill.

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# 19
Dunx69
Old 19-02-2013, 6:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by esmediaz View Post
Hi, I've never posted here before but have noticed a flaw in this policy change so glaring that I couldn't possibly not comment. I'm a customer of Yorkshire Water, I am billed quarterly and pay on receipt of my bill. I'm sat here now with said bill (for the third quarter of 2012/13) and, whilst it states the amount due and payment options, nowhere does it give a deadline for payment. How can you possibly pay your bill "on time" if no time frame is given???
does it say your bill is due for payment now?
All hail the Jack Daniels Swozzler!
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# 20
Buzby
Old 19-02-2013, 8:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by esmediaz View Post
Hi, I've never posted here before but have noticed a flaw in this policy change so glaring that I couldn't possibly not comment. I'm a customer of Yorkshire Water, I am billed quarterly and pay on receipt of my bill. I'm sat here now with said bill (for the third quarter of 2012/13) and, whilst it states the amount due and payment options, nowhere does it give a deadline for payment. How can you possibly pay your bill "on time" if no time frame is given???
Your bill is due on presentation - no 'deadline' is stipulated so it then becomes reasonable to expect that one month after the bill has been prepared (unless a different timeframe is explicitly stipulated) then the bill becomes overdue. You appear to believe that a date for payment is required to make it enforceable - this is not the case.
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