How can I dispute a default on my report?

Dear James,

Please advise me of the procedure to be followed by a lender issuing a default notice? Secondly, how can a default notice be disputed?

Mehboob, Leicester

Dear Mehboob,

A default notice is a communication a lender should send to a borrower before defaulting a credit agreement regulated by the Consumer Credit Act (CCA). It warns the borrower that:

1. a default will occur unless remedial action is taken within a specific period of time; and

2. a record of the default will be registered on the borrower’s credit report with one or more credit reference agencies.

So the default notice isn’t registered on your credit report, but a record of the fact that your account has defaulted will be if you haven’t managed to bring the account back into order.

Quite a few organisations that share customer information through the credit reference agencies are not covered by the CCA so don’t issue default notices at all. Mobile phone agreements are an example. Usually, though, you should still be told before a default is placed on your credit report and, if possible, given the opportunity to get your account back into order.

It's important that the information on your credit report is accurate and up to date. If you disagree with information on your report – whether it has been registered as a default or any other status – you should raise a dispute with us.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to raising a credit report dispute with Experian:

1. Get a current copy of your Experian Credit Report

If you don't have one you can sign up to CreditExpert or order a one-off statutory report.

2. Let us know which entry isn’t accurate

Tell us which entry is wrong, and what’s wrong with it. To query information on your statutory Experian credit report, fill out our online query form. If you’re a CreditExpert member, please email us at customerservice@creditexpert.co.uk or call us on 0344 481 0800 and we will raise the dispute for you.

3. We’ll contact the organisation that’s recorded this information on your report

And we’ll ask them to check the accuracy of the data they’ve recorded. We’ll let you know that we’re doing this, and we’ll add a ‘Notice of Dispute’ to the entry – so that anyone looking at your report in the meantime will know that the entry is being disputed. We do this because we can’t delete or change the data without their permission.

4. We’ll let you know the outcome
Once the organisation replies to us we’ll be in touch to let you know whether they’ve said it needs changing, deleting, or told us that it’s correct. It takes 10 days on average for us to receive a response from most organisations and we’ll let you know as soon as we hear from them. You’ll be able to see any changes on your credit report.

You can also contact the organisation directly yourself. Only the organisation can give authorisation for the data to be changed or deleted, so your contact with them can speed up the time it takes to get something corrected.

5. Further help
If the organisation responds informing us that they believe the information is accurate and you still disagree, we will explain the next step you can take, including adding a notice of correction to the entry and referring the matter to a third party to arbitrate. (November 2012, updated January 2014)

James
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