July 4, 2022

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Can I claim £750 damages from Experian?

EXPERIAN is reportedly being sued for £750 in a High Court case that centres around claims of mis-selling data.

But what does it mean for the millions of other customers that have information held by the credit reporting agency?

A writ has been filed against Experian


A writ has been filed against ExperianCredit: Alamy

Experian holds data on approximately 46 million people in the UK.

Why is Experian being sued?

Lawyers acting for Liz Williams, a 58-year-old mother-of-four from Gillingham in Dorset, filed a writ at the High Court against Experian on Friday, according to the Mail on Sunday.

The writ reportedly accuses the credit referencing agency of collecting data and selling it on for commercial gain.

If successful, Ms Williams could claim £750 in damages, it has been claimed.

But in a reply to the Mail on Sunday, a spokesperson for Experian said the credit referencing agency will “vigorously defend the claim” and says it doesn’t believe there are “any reasonable grounds for bringing this case”.

It comes after the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) found Experian was selling data onto third parties without consent – including political groups – in an update last October.

Experian has launched an appeal, but can go on to be fined £20million if the investigation is upheld and it doesn’t enforce the remedies the ICO has asked for.

The ICO also raised concerns about Equifax and TransUnion but is taking no further action against them after both services “made improvements to their direct marketing services business”.

Ms Williams, an IT company director, filed the writ after law firm Harcus Parker said it was looking for potential claimants.

A spokesperson for Experian told The Sun: “We disagree with the ICO’s original decision and we are appealing against it.

“For more than 30 years, our offline marketing business – which is separate from our main credit scoring business – has supported thousands of small companies, charities and public bodies.

“It uses publicly available data, like the census or edited Electoral Roll. It does not track internet activity or use website tracking cookies – and it does not collect data on actual customer purchases.”

Can I claim £750 damage from Experian?

If the claim against Experian is successful, it could potentially set a precedent for other people that have information held by the agency.

It’s thought Experian holds data on approximately 46 million people in the UK.

This means if each eligible person was able to claim £750, it would take potential damages to £34.5billion.

But at the moment, we don’t know what the outcome will be.

There is also often a lengthy process that takes place when it comes to class action lawsuits.

Another recent case going through the courts right now is against Mastercard, which could be forced to pay Brits £300 each after losing an appeal.

A judgement by the Supreme Court back in December 2020 ruled that a £14billion lawsuit against the card company, which alleges people were overcharged for years, can proceed.

Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of British Airways customers who had details stolen in a data hack could soon get paid up to £6,000 in compensation.

The cyber attack took place in 2018 and affected some 429,000 people, including both BA staff and customers.

What information does Experian hold?

Your Experian credit report contains public and private information recorded in your name. 

Authorised lenders can search it to see your credit history when deciding whether to offer you credit. 

This includes:

  • Credit account information: This includes your name and address, account names, current balances and payment statuses.
  • Address links: This includes your current and previous addresses.
  • Aliases: Other names you may be known by, such as a maiden name.
  • Previous searches: A record of each time a company has searched your credit report.
  • Electoral roll: A record of whether you’re registered to vote at your current and previous addresses.
  • Financial associates: Details of anyone you’re financially linked to, like sharing a mortgage or other credit account with.
  • Public information: Details of any public orders you may have against you, such as County Court Judgments (CCJs), Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs) or bankruptcies – or their equivalents in different parts of the UK.
  • Rental information: Any information letting agents, landlords and housing associations have shared about you with Experian.

The ICO investigation ruled that Experian was selling on people’s personal data without their knowledge.

It is claimed this resulted in companies and even political parties using some of the data collected to check credit-worthiness, market certain products or target them with messaging.

The ICO described this as “invisible” processing because it ruled that people were not aware that their data was being collected and used.

Experian says its data has “no impact” on people’s credit scores.

We explain how to check your credit score for free.

A poor credit score can add £262 a month to your mortgage repayments but there are ways that you can improve it to get a better deal.

See how paying for Netflix could improve your credit score.

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