Questions Of Cash: Can our new home be 'blacklisted'?

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The Independent Online

Q. My wife and I recently bought a house. Mail is arriving for the previous owner, and it's clear he owed a lot of money to lots of people. He left no forwarding address. We have heard that properties can be financially blacklisted. Is this true? MD, by e-mail.

A. A spokesman for Experian, the credit-reference agency, says: "Credit reports are held on people, not addresses. Lenders can only look at someone else's report if you share a financial link with them, such as a loan. As a result, debts of the previous owner of your address cannot affect your creditworthiness because your reports will not be linked to his. Simply return his post to senders, marked 'no longer at this address' and it should eventually stop."

Q. A colleague thought she'd bought four Sharp 42in LCD TV sets for £150 each from the Woolworths website, just before Christmas. An order number was given to her, her debit card payment apparently processed and a delivery date stated. But when she logged back into her Woolworths account later that day, the order had been cancelled by Woolworths, without explanation. The payment has not been taken from her bank account. Surely this was a legal contract with Woolworths, which it should honour? DB, London.

A. About a thousand people were in this situation, having tried to buy online from Woolworths TV sets that had been unintentionally marked at much below cost price. A spokeswoman for Woolworths says: "Woolworths endeavours to ensure that all pricing information on its website is accurate. However, on very rare occasions, errors do occur. Due to an isolated technical problem, Woolworths can confirm a pricing error occurred on a small number of TVs. The terms and conditions on our website state that where a pricing error occurs, Woolworths may cancel any orders placed. This was an unfortunate but obvious mistake and we are therefore unable to accept any orders at the incorrect pricing. Woolworths has contacted customers to inform them of the error and to apologise."

It is irritating, but Woolworths appears to be legally in the right. Remember; if something looks too good to be true, it probably is.

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