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YI2
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Hard search on credit report

Hi, there is a hard search on my credit account conducted by Virgin Media (it states that I have made a credit application with Virgin Media). I have never applied for credit with Virgin Media. I only use internet service with Virgin Media for which I pay in direct debit (there is a zero balance on my account, and I never made my payments late). This hard search significantly decreased my credit score, and I am in the middle of purchasing a flat. I have tried to contact Virgin Media by phone and email since 26 July 2022, but I was not able to receive any answers or resolution. The situation is very urgent, as I am about to suffer substantial monetary losses because of the error made by Virgin Media.

I have contacted Virgin Media customer service advisor (on WhatsApp channel) who informed me that there was no hard search done on my account and asked to talk to the credit file amendments team to get this removed. 

So I have contacted both CreditFileAmendments@virginmedia.co.uk and complaints team and both refused to remove the hard search and responded without looking into the details of my case with an automatic response:  'As per our terms and conditions when you apply for any Virgin Media products the credit search is carried out with the details provided on your application.' I have checked the terms and conditions, and nowhere in there it is stated that a hard credit check will be conducted if the customer joins the broadband.

No Virgin Media advisor I talked to on the phone was able to direct me to the exact provisions of the terms and conditions that would inform about hard searches on credit file. If Virgin Media in fact does this to every customer (conducts hard searches), it should be explicitly stated as hard searches impact the credit score for an entire year. Even the lenders do not conduct hard searches for the purpose of mortgages.

I would like the hard search to be removed from my credit file as I never made credit applications with Virgin Media. Please advise who can help me with this. I was informed that credit file amendment team does not take calls and they are not responding to my emails. The complaints team did not know the rules about the credit searches and referred me back to the credit file amendment team.

The issue is very time sensitive. For two weeks I have been trying to resolve this issue with no success.

Thanks.

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newapollo
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Message 2 of 16
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Re: Hard search on credit report

Hi @YI2 

You may want to read the info on the following page to obtain more understanding of VM's credit searches.

 https://www.virginmedia.com/legal/privacy-policy  

Scroll down to the section titled, 'Certain scenarios where we think you might want more detail about how we use your information'

'We carry out credit checks (using a supplier) so we’re sure you can afford the products and services you’re interested in'

Dave

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YI2
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Re: Hard search on credit report

Hi Dave,

Thanks for this. However, it does not say it is a HARD credit check. Broadband companies rarely conduct any credit checks, and if at all ---those would be SOFT credit checks. I also do not think it is reasonable to conduct a hard credit check to ensure that someone can pay £25 a month--why a soft credit check is not sufficient? As I mentioned, even banks don't conduct hard credit checks for mortgages of hundreds of thousands pounds --they conduct soft credit checks.

Also, Virgin Media customer service informed me that credit checks are only conducted for certain services (when using phone plans with tariffs that offer credit), but not the broadband service where customer pays straightaway without using any credit.
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Steven_L
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Message 4 of 16
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Re: Hard search on credit report

Hey @YI2,

Welcome to the community and thanks for taking the time to post your issue on the forums.

If you have been advised by the credit file amendment team that this cannot be removed, we wouldn't be able to help any further from here.

Regards,

Steven_L 

 

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YI2
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Message 5 of 16
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Re: Hard search on credit report

Hi Steven,

Thanks for your email. I have not been advised by the credit file amendment team--they are not responding to my emails. And there is no other way to contact them. I have been advised by the complaints team that there has been no hard search on my account.

Thanks
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Kath_F
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Message 6 of 16
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Re: Hard search on credit report

Hi YI2, 

Thanks for coming back to us on this. 

Apologies for the misunderstanding, based on your first post you mentioned both the credit amendments team and complaints team had refused to remove the hard search and responded without looking into the details of your case. 

Neither we or the complaints team are able to do anything we it comes to credit amendments. We do credit check customers for a Media service whether this be just broadband or a bundle and we also credit check anyone wanting a Mobile service too. I can see newapollo has already given you the link but this one will give more information too: How we credit check. It's not just for affordability, it's to prevent fraud as well and whilst it doesn't specifically say a hard search - it does advise that the referencing agency may keep a record of the search. 

The email address that you've emailed can take up to 28 days to reply so if you only emailed in end of July and not yet had a reply - this would be why. 

The best way to raise an issue is to do this directly through the credit referencing agency as they send all the details that the team need. They pick this up and are able to deal with there and then without any further delays so I would recommend doing this asap. In terms of getting the search itself removed, it sounds as though it was correctly done so it's unlikely this would be removed. 

Keep us posted on how you get on. 

Thanks, 

Kath_F
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YI2
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Message 7 of 16
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Re: Hard search on credit report

Hi Kath,

Thanks for this. I have raised the issue with the credit referencing agency. However, I must say that the fact that Virgin Media unilaterally ruins people's credit scores in an instant (without providing an explicit notice of hard credit check) and then takes 28 days to do anything about it is appalling.

Thanks for referring me to the provisions on credit. But again non of them talk about hard credit searches. As you might know, hard credit searches are only conducted as part of loan application process. My credit referencing agency report says that I made a 'credit application' with Virgin Media, which is just not true.

If in fact Virgin Media have been conducting hard searches on all customers' credit files, it would not have had any customers. The hard searches are visible on credit file for 2 years and ruin credit scores for 1 year, so your customers would not have been able to move apartments, have credit cards, buy cars etc. This is clearly a mistake, as a result of which I am suffering substantial financial losses.

If in fact this is a standard Virgin Media practice, I do not believe that Virgin Media is transparent about its credit checks, as at no point in time I (or other customers) are informed about the possibility of HARD credit checks. If this is the case, I would like to report this to the financial ombudsman service.

Thanks,
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John_GS
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Message 8 of 16
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Re: Hard search on credit report

Hi @YI2

Thanks for coming back to the thread. As it does fully state about the credit search in the terms and conditions, we have done nothing wrong. Your next step is to wait for the response from the amendments team in this.

Best,

John_GS
Forum Team


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YI2
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Message 9 of 16
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Re: Hard search on credit report

Hi John,

Thanks for this. It would be helpful if you could please clarify which provisions in terms and conditions talk about 'HARD credit checks' (as there are two types of credit checks with different consequences), since you claim that the terms and conditions 'fully state about the credit search' and please do provide quotes of such provisions?

Thanks,
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John_GS
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Message 10 of 16
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Re: Hard search on credit report

My colleague has provided you the links that state this about credit checks. I have enclosed the following;

We are entitled to carry out a credit check on you at any time. We may search the files of credit reference agencies which may keep a record of that search. Details of how you conduct your account may also be disclosed to such agencies.

The agencies will record details of the search, whether or not the application goes ahead. We may use credit-scoring methods to assess the application and to confirm your identity.

We and other companies may use credit searches and other information, which is provided to us or the credit reference agencies (or both), about you (and those you are linked financially to) if credit decisions are made about you, or other members of your household.

We will check your details with fraud detection agencies and if false or inaccurate information is provided and fraud is identified, details will be passed to fraud prevention agencies. Law enforcement agencies may access and use this information.

We and other organisations may also access and use this information to prevent fraud and money laundering, for example, when:- checking details on applications for credit and credit related or other facilities; managing credit and credit related accounts and facilities; recovering debt; checking details of proposals and claims for all types of insurance; checking details of job applicants and employees.

Best,

John_GS
Forum Team


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