Questions of cash: How did Big Brother get all these details about my daughter?
Friday 05 July 2013
Q. I recently opened an online saver account linked to my current account and Visa debit card. To verify the transaction I was asked three security questions. These were: which of these phone numbers have you had; which of these addresses have you lived at; and the last, which horrified me, was in which age range is your daughter – and then they gave me her first name and middle initial. I am outraged that this information is known by the financial services companies and used by them. It feels as though Big Brother really exists. I phoned Verified by Visa to complain, and it said the security questions were generated by the credit-reference agency Equifax. I phoned Equifax, who said they only used information supplied by my bank. I phoned my bank who said they have nothing to do with it and it is down to Equifax. I would like to know whether Equifax stores all this information about me or just accesses it from a source. How do they know details about my daughter? Can I veto their use of this? Where can I complain about this intrusion into my privacy and get my daughter's name removed from these files? JN, Surrey.
A. This information is obtained from the electoral register. You removed your family's details from the publicly available version, but credit-reference agencies have access to another version on which those details are retained. They are permitted to access the full version under anti-money laundering legislation. A spokeswoman for Equifax explains: “Equifax holds the information to be able to provide it to lenders. Any information Equifax holds that is supplied by third parties has been provided on the basis of prior notification, or according to regulation. Consumers do have the right to see what data is held about them and are able to query it.” The background to this is that since 2002 there have been two versions of electoral registers: one is called the full register and the other the edited register. Individuals can opt out of the edited register, but not out of the full register. Personal details such as full names and addresses – and, for those coming up their 18th birthday, the date on which they will be 18 – are shown on the full register. This information is not normally available to commercial organisations for individuals who have opted out of the full register. However, the full register can be used by financial-services businesses for anti-money laundering purposes. It was in accordance with this that Equifax provided your personal history and family details to your bank for its security checks. The use of personal information is regulated by the Information Commissioner, whose office confirmed that the statement given to us by Equifax is correct. A spokesman added: “The Data Protection Act does not prevent credit-reference agencies from accessing the full electoral register for limited purposes – including anti-money laundering and vetting applications for credit.” As a goodwill gesture Equifax is offering you a free copy of your credit report. You remain unhappy and have the right to complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service. But Equifax and your bank operated in line with the legislation, so it is difficult to see what you could achieve.
Q. I have had a Tesco Bonus Credit Card since 2010. My main reason was to accumulate points in Tesco's loyalty scheme. During 2012 I realised my Clubcard number was not accumulating points, despite me spending thousands of pounds on the card. I have been in communication with Tesco over this since December last year, with phone calls and a long email correspondence, but I have got nowhere. The Clubcard people keep referring me to the credit card division of Tesco Bank and they are playing pass the parcel with me. Eventually the customer service department sorted out the current problem and points are now being awarded to my card, but it seems Tesco is incapable of awarding me the backdated points I missed out on over the last few years. I feel cheated. PM, by email.
A. The problem, it seems, is about Tesco's database management, but the problem has now been resolved. A Tesco spokesman says: “We did not meet our high standards of customer service. We have apologised to [the reader], backdated his Clubcard points and taken steps to ensure this doesn't happen again.”
Q. I changed gas and electricity supplier from Npower to Co-operative Energy on 15 January. I received a statement from Npower saying it owed me £466.36 on electricity, but it will not refund this until the gas account is finalised. I have phoned Npower repeatedly since January and was eventually told in April that there was a dispute over the final gas reading. I had not been made aware of this. I have provided the current reading by phone and email. I was then given a complaint number at the beginning of May. In spite of phoning three times since then the matter has not progressed. I understand they have a further eight weeks to resolve this before I can take action through the ombudsman. I have been complaining to Npower since February. PL, Sheffield.
A. Npower says the original final reading for your transfer of gas supplies was disputed and a new meter reading was required. Given the time that had elapsed already prior to us taking up the matter with Npower, the dispute was escalated when we contacted the company. A new reading was then agreed between the two suppliers. This left a balance owing to you of a much smaller amount of £180.43. This has now been paid to you by Npower, along with a goodwill payment of £50.
Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown
- 1 I'm A Celebrity 2014: Jungle security stepped up after murder and 'suspicious death' near to camp
- 2 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 3 Jeremy Hunt: 'I took my children to A&E because I didn't want to wait for GP appointment'
- 4 Girl, 7, gets Tesco to remove 'stupid' sign suggesting superheroes are 'for boys'
- 5 This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Exclusive: UK approved £7m Israeli arms sales in six months before Gaza conflict
iJobs Money & Business
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Langley James : IT Support; Helpdesk, VMware; Manch...
£35000 - £450000 per annum + £3k car, £70k ote: h2 Recruit Ltd: Do you want to...
£Attractive Package: Citifocus Ltd: Prestigious financial institution seeks to...
£Negotiable: Citifocus Ltd: Experienced operational risk professional with ban...
Day In a Page
A deceptively spacious, beautifully presented Georgian home with 3000sq ft of living space and five reception rooms
A five-bedroom Victorian home with four receptions, superb gardens and paddock in Pembury
An eight-bedroom house on the south side of the The Green with cinema, wine cellars and summer house
This 17th century beauty is full of rustic cosiness, while the detached home office means you can also run a business
This five-bedroom red-brick beauty overlooks the village green and sits in just under two acres of land
Four exclusive apartments in a Grade II-listed former medical school with 2,275 sq ft of living space and 18ft ceilings
A five-bedroom terraced house on the popular Peterborough Estate, ideally located for both Eel Brook Common and South Park
A state-of-the-art farm-building conversion on the former Cliveden Estate, with 11,420sq ft of internal space, cinema and wine cellar
A three-bedroom, 15th-century cottage with original features in the picturesque village of Sissinghurst
A six-bedroom terraced house with large south-facing roof terrace, cinema room and wine cellar
A new seven-bedroom home built in Queen Anne-style with swimming pool and parkland views in Mortimer
A listed, four-bedroom farmhouse in the rural hamlet of Rushall with detached barn, four acres of gardens and paddocks
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens