Ms S discovers she is credit default listed after negotiating a hardship program payment plan (April 2016)

Debt collection and credit default listings
Case Number 2016/5330
Outcome Conciliation

The Issue

Ms S was dissatisfied with her electricity retailer about a default listing on her credit file. She had moved out of a property in September 2014 and thought the account was finalised and paid. In late 2015, Ms S applied for finance and to her surprise the application was declined. She contacted her electricity retailer on 23 December 2015 to discuss the credit default but it was unable to locate her account. During a subsequent contact with the retailer, it offered to reduce the account balance and remove the default once the remaining amount was paid. She paid the amount and then received a letter which confirmed that her credit file had been updated to reflect the payment.

However, on 7 March 2016, Ms S discovered that the default listing remained on her credit file, albeit with a paid status, and was still affecting her ability get finance from other organisations. Dissatisfied about this, Ms S contacted EWOV on 9 March 2016 and an Assisted Referral was raised. The retailer contacted Ms S about her complaint but said that it had listed the default correctly on her credit file and therefore it would not be removed. Ms S was not satisfied with the retailer’s response so she returned to EWOV on 16 March 2016. The complaint was handled as an Investigation due to the complexity of the credit default listing.

The Investigation

EWOV’s investigation included reviewing a timeline of events which confirmed when accounts were finalised and when Ms contacted the retailer. It was established that the correct notices were issued to Ms S warning that the outstanding account would be listed as a default on her credit file. However, Ms S had contacted her retailer to request to be placed on its financial hardship program on 13 January 2015 – for her new property – prior to the default being listed. The retailer agreed to this and also confirmed it would transfer the outstanding account balance that was going to be default listed to her new account. It said that one payment plan could then be established to manage all of the outstanding amounts for both her previous and current properties. However, the outstanding account for Ms S’ previous property was default listed in error on 25 January 2015.

The Outcome

The electricity retailer agreed to remove the credit default listing to recognise Ms S’ request for payment assistance on the hardship program and its error in not transferring the outstanding debt to her new account. It also confirmed that the account was now paid and had a nil balance. Ms S was satisfied with the resolution and the case was closed.

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