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    • lukechris
    • By lukechris 10th Feb 15, 8:22 AM
    • 35 Posts
    • 9 Thanks
    lukechris
    Hi all

    A bit long winded but I've just got this email:

    Thank you for your patience while we have been looking into your concerns about our identity fraud expenses insurance.

    About your complaint

    We understand your complaint is about the identity fraud expenses insurance policy that we included with our CreditExpert product (which we will refer to as "the insurance" in this correspondence) and that you are seeking a refund.

    Current matters under consideration at the ombudsman

    The Financial Ombudsman Service ("FOS") recently received four complaints about the insurance, and is currently considering these. The four cases are similar to your complaint and we are expecting FOS's decision in the near future.

    Whilst we believe that we have fairly and transparently sold the insurance as part of CreditExpert, we respect the independent role of FOS and the outcome of cases that it decides. We further believe that the final decision of FOS in these matters will help us to formulate our approach in handling complaints such as yours.

    We will reconsider this decision as soon as possible

    In light of the above, and upon receipt of FOS's decision about the four current complaints, we will reconsider the details of your complaint.

    You are entitled to refer your complaint to FOS now (as we explain below). However, we believe that it is in all parties' interests to wait until the outcome of the current FOS cases, as until these decisions are made, it is unlikely the FOS will be able to progress your complaint.

    In the meantime, we will ensure that your rights are fully protected in this process as follows:
    We are expecting to receive FOS's decisions soon. However, if these have not been finalised within twelve weeks of this correspondence, we will contact you again to remind you of your right to refer your complaint to FOS; and
    When you have received our further review of your complaint, you will still have a further six months from the date of that review to refer your complaint to FOS.
    Our decision about your complaint

    You will appreciate that we would have preferred to wait until we had received FOS's decisions before responding to you. However, we are providing you with our final response now because our complaint handling rules require us to do this within 8 weeks of your complaint.

    We attach our final response to your complaint. We have taken the same view of your complaint as we have with the four cases currently before FOS. You will see that we are not upholding your complaint and, as a result, we are not offering any refund to you.

    If you wish, of course you may refer your complaint to FOS now and we set out your rights about this in the below annex. However, if you decide to wait to hear from us again, then your rights will be protected as we have explained in this correspondence.

    Yours sincerely,

    Customer Relations Team
    complaints@uk.experian.com

    Annex with decision on your complaint

    Transparency of information

    We believe that we have always been open and transparent with our customers.

    From 12 January 2011 until 28 July 2014, our £14.99 monthly CreditExpert service was made up of several different features including the insurance. This is the only CreditExpert membership service we made available for consumers to join or re-join online. We provided clear information about the features, including the insurance, to those who signed up for membership during this period.

    By providing this information, we enabled all potential customers to make an informed decision about the suitability of the product for their individual needs, before deciding whether to sign-up. We did this by several means, including:
    Detailing the features on the home page of the CreditExpert website. This meant that potential customers could read about features, including the insurance, before signing-up;
    Our sign-up pages contained details of the insurance and legal terms & conditions, with clickable links to view the full documents. One of the sign-up pages contained an "insurance features" column on the right-hand side of the page. This contained a summary of the insurance. We also made the "key facts" insurance document available via a scrollable window so that potential customers could access this information without leaving the page; and
    The final page in our sign-up process provided links to the insurance terms & conditions, key facts and our product terms & conditions. Potential customers were required to confirm that they had read the insurance terms & conditions by ticking a box, and our system would not allow them to join/re-join CreditExpert without doing so. Accordingly, we required all potential customers to take positive steps to confirm that they had read and understood the insurance details, as you did.
    Given the above, we believe that during this period no-one could join or re-join CreditExpert without being aware of the insurance.

    We also provided additional information about our product features by:
    Sending new members one or more welcome emails, summarising the features and benefits of the product, including the insurance; and
    Posting a welcome pack to each new member. The welcome pack drew the member's attention to the insurance premium charged and invited the member to read the full insurance policy on the website.
    Whilst we provided clear and transparent information about the product and insurance, we did not advise, nor make any recommendation, about its suitability for a potential customer's individual needs or requirements. Because of the online environment, customers were under no sales or time pressure to join up, and could consider the suitability of all of the product features at their leisure.

    Relevant previous FOS decisions

    We would like to make you aware of a past FOS decision about our Identity Fraud Expenses Insurance. You can read that decision at the following link:

    www.ombudsman-decisions.org.uk/viewPDF.aspx?FileID=36802

    In that case, the Ombudsman decided that the information that we provide about insurance was enough for the complainant to have been aware of the insurance before deciding whether to join. The materials considered by the Ombudsman were similar to those you will have read and confirmed that you understood when you joined CreditExpert. Note that the Ombudsman in that case said:
    "In light of all the available evidence, I am satisfied the identity protection policy was not an optional part of the credit expert membership Mr D took out."

    "...it is up to the seller to decide how to package the products it sells and to decide what products it is prepared to sell as standalone products and what products it will only sell in a package."

    "Mr D was provided with an onscreen policy summary as part of the application process and...he would have had to have ticked a box to confirm he had read this. I note that he did not query the cancellation provisions at that point which either suggests that he did not read the policy summary or he did but those cancellation rights did not lead him to contact Motorfile."
    We would add that if you only wished to see a copy of your statutory credit report, you could order a one-off copy for £2 (and you still can order such a report). Our CreditExpert front page contains a link to information about ordering a statutory credit report.

    Eligibility for the insurance & its suitability

    We understand that you also believe we made no effort to ensure that the product was relevant to your needs or that you were eligible to claim benefits.

    As you know, we sold the product to you through the internet and, as previously mentioned, we gave you a fair and transparent description of the insurance. The sale was not an advised sale and you chose to join CreditExpert even though we disclosed clearly that it included the insurance. We believe that it was for each customer to decide whether the insurance was relevant to their needs.

    The CreditExpert sign-up process meant that the information you provided on joining/re-joining established your eligibility for the product and the insurance and we would not have accepted your application to join CreditExpert if you had not been eligible for the insurance.

    Our free trial and your right to cancel

    We gave each new CreditExpert customer a 30-day free trial of the service. This enabled every new customer to try every feature of the product and make their own personal assessment of its suitability for their needs. Until 28 July 2014, the insurance was one of these features.

    Consumers who had cancelled and re-joined also received a 14-day cooling-off period for the insurance.

    A new or re-joining member, having read our product and insurance information, could actively use CreditExpert (including the insurance) for a reasonable amount of time and then cancel if they decided that it was not suitable for them.

    We have always provided clear information to customers about their right to cancel their membership. Our terms and conditions for CreditExpert clearly explained how to cancel. We also explained this process to new customers when we emailed them to welcome them to membership. In many cases, when someone joined CreditExpert we sent them both a letter and an email, which explained how to cancel their membership.

    If a customer cancelled the insurance, this cancelled their entire CreditExpert membership. This point was considered by FOS when it made the Ombudsman decision referred to above. The Ombudsman concluded that a CreditExpert customer could not cancel the insurance without cancelling their membership.

    Alternative products for existing customers

    We have always sought to deliver a great service by listening to our customers and responding to their feedback. Sometimes people who contact us to cancel their membership may recognise that there are benefits from having access to an Experian credit information product, whether that is CreditExpert or another product with fewer features.

    The Ombudsman decision that we mention above does not in any way suggest that it is unfair or unreasonable for us to offer existing members other products if they made contact to query the CreditExpert product or to cancel it, even if those other products are not available at the point of sale.

    Please note that between January 2011 and September 2012, we did not have a comparable version of the CreditExpert product without insurance that we could offer to existing customers.

    Pricing

    We stated the value of the insurance premium on our website as £6.40. We did this for transparency. Specifically, this meant that a re-joining customer who exercised their cooling off period cancellation right would be aware of how much their refund would be.

    Our conclusions about your complaint

    Having considered your complaint, it is our view that:
    We provided you with clear and transparent information about the insurance both before and promptly after you joined CreditExpert. To join CreditExpert, you were required to confirm that you had read and understood this information. We believe that you must have been aware of the insurance features and cooling-off and cancellation rights;
    The insurance was not an optional product;
    It was for each individual customer to assess the suitability of the product features, including the insurance, for their individual circumstances; and
    You were eligible for the insurance and our criteria for CreditExpert membership meant that we would not have accepted your application to join CreditExpert if you had not also been eligible for the insurance.
    Because of the information that we gave you about the insurance and your cancellation rights, and the positive steps that you took to confirm that you had read and understood about the insurance and those cancellation rights, we have concluded that we have treated you fairly, transparently and reasonably during your membership of CreditExpert.

    In conclusion, we are not upholding your complaint against us.

    You have the right to refer your complaint to FOS within six (6) months from the date of this decision. You will find full details on the FOS’s website at the following address:

    www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk/publications/consumer-leaflet.htm
    • rizla king
    • By rizla king 10th Feb 15, 9:12 AM
    • 2,836 Posts
    • 1,892 Thanks
    rizla king
    Complete BS.

    Take it to the FOS now. They are looking at a lot more than 4 complaints, so that attempt to misdirect you should be reported as well.

    Every new complaint the FOS get will help.

    Every person must ignore Experian's crude attempt to discourage you from taking it to the FOS.
    Still rolling rolling rolling...... <----- SIGNATURE - Not part of post
    • chanz4
    • By chanz4 10th Feb 15, 6:12 PM
    • 9,883 Posts
    • 2,873 Thanks
    chanz4
    myns one, had a reply from the fos saying its fair
    Don't put your trust into an Experian score - it is not a number any bank will ever use & it is generally a waste of money to purchase it. They are also selling you insurance you dont need.
    • fermi
    • By fermi 21st Feb 15, 7:42 AM
    • 39,279 Posts
    • 47,107 Thanks
    fermi
    http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showpost.php?p=67771676&postcount=22

    I just thought I'd update you all.

    My complaint to the Financial Ombudsman had 2 stages.

    It was upheld at the 1st stage - Experian rejected the findings.

    It then went to the Ombudsman for the final decision and was upheld again.

    the Ombudsman advised Experian had to refund all the insurance premiums (additional £5 in the standard membership fee) plus 8% interest - all in all, over £100 back.

    Experian have agreed to refund - however, in his letter he does state that they do not agree with his decision and are refunding as a gesture of goodwill.

    It's taken a while, but I'm getting the refund of all the premiums I've ever paid to them plus the interest.
    Originally posted by .1xp
    I'm a Board Guide on the Debt-Free Wannabe, Bankruptcy, Credit Cards and Loans boards. I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly. Any views are mine and not the official line of moneysavingexpert.com. Board guides are not moderators. If you spot an inappropriate or illegal post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com

    Free/impartial debt advice: National Debtline | StepChange Debt Charity | Find your local CAB

    IVA & fee charging DMP companies: Profits from misery, motivated ONLY by greed
    • fermi
    • By fermi 21st Feb 15, 7:45 AM
    • 39,279 Posts
    • 47,107 Thanks
    fermi
    A final ombudsman decision is legally binding on Experian if you accept it, so not entirely a gesture of goodwill.
    I'm a Board Guide on the Debt-Free Wannabe, Bankruptcy, Credit Cards and Loans boards. I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly. Any views are mine and not the official line of moneysavingexpert.com. Board guides are not moderators. If you spot an inappropriate or illegal post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com

    Free/impartial debt advice: National Debtline | StepChange Debt Charity | Find your local CAB

    IVA & fee charging DMP companies: Profits from misery, motivated ONLY by greed
    • Former MSE Rebecca
    • By Former MSE Rebecca 27th Feb 15, 10:59 AM
    • 113 Posts
    • 96 Thanks
    Former MSE Rebecca
    Hi all,

    We're really keen to hear about any responses from the Ombudsman on this so we can make sure our article is up-to-date.

    Many thanks,

    MSE Rebecca
    • James0101
    • By James0101 2nd Mar 15, 12:02 AM
    • 27 Posts
    • 7 Thanks
    James0101
    I too have a case with the Ombudsman regarding the Experian insurance I paid for almost two years.

    Complained to Experian towards the end of Summer last year and basically got fobbed off and was told they were correct and the product was not mis-sold. Off to the Ombudsman I then went...

    Anyways, to cut a long story short I received an email from the Ombudsman last week saying the first few complaints regarding the Credit Expert insurance have now been resolved and I should have an update on my case within the next 4 weeks.

    Will keep you posted.
    • Mojohobo
    • By Mojohobo 4th Mar 15, 3:52 PM
    • 3 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Mojohobo
    In for a penny
    Experian wrote to me some time ago rejecting my claim and asking me to await the Ombudsman decision on existing cases.

    Having seen somebody got a positive Ombudsman response, I fired off my chaser email to Experian and I am assured they will "review" my case
    • rizla king
    • By rizla king 4th Mar 15, 6:42 PM
    • 2,836 Posts
    • 1,892 Thanks
    rizla king
    No take it to the FOS NOW.
    Still rolling rolling rolling...... <----- SIGNATURE - Not part of post
    • James0101
    • By James0101 5th Mar 15, 9:49 PM
    • 27 Posts
    • 7 Thanks
    James0101
    Well, I had a call from the Ombudsman today regarding my case.

    Experian are apparently now "willing to make an offer of settlement" on my case - and this is before the Ombudsman have investigated it! How their tone has changed eh?! Oh, but the offer is a "goodwill gesture" - how so kind of them!!

    Basically offered to refund all of the premiums I have paid plus the 8% per year.

    I've accepted this and now have to sign the settlement form from the Ombudsman and return it.

    Happy days and good luck to the rest of you pursuing this
    • Alexbr0gan
    • By Alexbr0gan 7th Mar 15, 8:31 AM
    • 4 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Alexbr0gan
    Settlement
    Had a call from the Ombudsman yesterday, apparently Experian have offered to settle at £5.00 per month plus 8% annual interest so totalling just over £90 (for me not to take it any further with the ombudsman).

    Not too shabby! Just waiting for the forms to accept.

    Thanks MSE!
    • fermi
    • By fermi 7th Mar 15, 9:21 AM
    • 39,279 Posts
    • 47,107 Thanks
    fermi
    Excellent results.

    Proves that you should ignore Experian's fob offs and attempts to stop you going to the FOS yourself.
    I'm a Board Guide on the Debt-Free Wannabe, Bankruptcy, Credit Cards and Loans boards. I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly. Any views are mine and not the official line of moneysavingexpert.com. Board guides are not moderators. If you spot an inappropriate or illegal post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com

    Free/impartial debt advice: National Debtline | StepChange Debt Charity | Find your local CAB

    IVA & fee charging DMP companies: Profits from misery, motivated ONLY by greed
    • Owain Moneysaver
    • By Owain Moneysaver 7th Mar 15, 3:43 PM
    • 7,545 Posts
    • 8,025 Thanks
    Owain Moneysaver
    Had a call from the Ombudsman yesterday, apparently Experian have offered to settle at £5.00 per month plus 8% annual interest so totalling just over £90 (for me not to take it any further with the ombudsman).

    Not too shabby! Just waiting for the forms to accept.

    Thanks MSE!
    Originally posted by Alexbr0gan
    Me too. (Adding some text as message is too short.)
    A kind word lasts a minute, a skelped erse is sair for a day.
    • fermi
    • By fermi 10th Mar 15, 4:42 PM
    • 39,279 Posts
    • 47,107 Thanks
    fermi
    Another success reported today.

    http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showpost.php?p=67913044&postcount=4

    Just had my letter through today. £75 + interest... Let the snowball roll!!
    Originally posted by morrit
    I'm a Board Guide on the Debt-Free Wannabe, Bankruptcy, Credit Cards and Loans boards. I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly. Any views are mine and not the official line of moneysavingexpert.com. Board guides are not moderators. If you spot an inappropriate or illegal post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com

    Free/impartial debt advice: National Debtline | StepChange Debt Charity | Find your local CAB

    IVA & fee charging DMP companies: Profits from misery, motivated ONLY by greed
    • fermi
    • By fermi 11th Mar 15, 6:26 PM
    • 39,279 Posts
    • 47,107 Thanks
    fermi
    Another success

    http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showpost.php?p=67923680&postcount=4
    I'm a Board Guide on the Debt-Free Wannabe, Bankruptcy, Credit Cards and Loans boards. I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly. Any views are mine and not the official line of moneysavingexpert.com. Board guides are not moderators. If you spot an inappropriate or illegal post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com

    Free/impartial debt advice: National Debtline | StepChange Debt Charity | Find your local CAB

    IVA & fee charging DMP companies: Profits from misery, motivated ONLY by greed
    • chanz4
    • By chanz4 11th Mar 15, 6:31 PM
    • 9,883 Posts
    • 2,873 Thanks
    chanz4
    why is mse interested now, when I first contacted them a long time back they were not even interested!
    Don't put your trust into an Experian score - it is not a number any bank will ever use & it is generally a waste of money to purchase it. They are also selling you insurance you dont need.
    • lukechris
    • By lukechris 13th Mar 15, 10:42 AM
    • 35 Posts
    • 9 Thanks
    lukechris
    No phone call, but £48 refund in my bank was nice to wake up to! Cheers Martin
    • lukechris
    • By lukechris 13th Mar 15, 10:43 AM
    • 35 Posts
    • 9 Thanks
    lukechris
    Although saying that I've not checked my post for a few days, if I have an accompanying letter I shall upload it for you guys.

    Thanks again
  • CossieMoJo
    Thank you MoneySavingExpert. Using your template letter I have been refunded nearly £210. Experian say they have not upheld my complaint but I am getting the money back plus 8% interest so thank you again.
    • James0101
    • By James0101 14th Mar 15, 3:39 PM
    • 27 Posts
    • 7 Thanks
    James0101
    Final update on my case guys.

    Knock at the door this morning with a recorded letter to sign for.

    Opened it up and indeed it was a cheque for £70 from Experian for the twelve months insurance I paid (thought it was two years originally, but just the one), plus the 8% interest

    Returned my settlement agreement to Ombudsman the middle of the week and cheque today, so a fairly quick turnaround.....in the end.
    Last edited by James0101; 14-03-2015 at 3:41 PM.
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