Experian CreditExpert reclaiming article

edited 2 October 2014 at 9:43AM in Reclaiming Mortgage Fees, Council Tax, etc
190 replies 85.1K views
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Replies

  • rizla_kingrizla_king Forumite
    2.9K Posts
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    Alexbr0gan wrote: »
    Just to update everyone I have sent over a copy of the final response letter from Experian, including the complaint form to the FOS.

    I had a response from the Ombudsman thanking me for raising my concern and it says they will get back to me in 4 weeks.

    Hopefully they can make Experian realise they can't hide from their problems!

    Good. FOS needs to see how they are trying to trick people into not taking it to the FOS :)
    Still rolling rolling rolling...... :) <
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  • GarethRGarethR Forumite
    242 Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
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    I've written to FOS also so will keep you all posted on progress


    Cheers and Happy New Year!
    Official DFW Member 587 :T
  • Hev83Hev83 Forumite
    9 Posts
    I have also now complained to the ombudsman just before xmas so waiting for their response! Will let everyone know what they say!
  • rizla_kingrizla_king Forumite
    2.9K Posts
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    Keep them going in. More the better.
    Still rolling rolling rolling...... :) <
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  • Hev83Hev83 Forumite
    9 Posts
    Just had a response from the ombudsman saying that due to the number of complaints they have received it may take up to 6mths for the adjudicator to investigate thoroughly!!

    At least they appear to be taking this seriously!!
  • rizla_kingrizla_king Forumite
    2.9K Posts
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    So looks like Experians attempt to brush this under the carpet by tricking people into not complaining to the FOS has falied.

    Need to keep the complaints going in to the FOS. The more they get the better still.
    Still rolling rolling rolling...... :) <
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  • GarethRGarethR Forumite
    242 Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    ✭✭
    Hev83 wrote: »
    Just had a response from the ombudsman saying that due to the number of complaints they have received it may take up to 6mths for the adjudicator to investigate thoroughly!!

    At least they appear to be taking this seriously!!


    Will expect something similar soon then, I sent mine not long after you Hev 83
    Official DFW Member 587 :T
  • rizla_kingrizla_king Forumite
    2.9K Posts
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    Yes probly in post.
    Still rolling rolling rolling...... :) <
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  • GarethRGarethR Forumite
    242 Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    ✭✭
    Received letter from FOS today.


    Note that the company I am complaining about being Experian but complaint needs to be directed to Motorfile Ltd.

    Also said that due to the high number of complaints received it may be up to 6 months, so same as above.


    Will keep updated
    Official DFW Member 587 :T
  • SystemSystem Forumite
    177.9K Posts
    10,000 Posts Name Dropper
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    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
    [email protected]

    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:

    https://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:

    https://www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk/publications/consumer-leaflet.htm
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