Questions of Cash: 'Secret searches' after I browsed a comparison website

 

Q: I've listened to lots of warnings about identity theft and the need to be vigilant, so I decided to check my credit report with Experian.

To my amazement I found a number of searches had been carried out on me by companies that I had never had any dealings with and had not asked for credit of any sort. I asked Experian why this should be the case and they replied telling me that it was very likely that I had visited a price comparison website that effectively gave permission for searches to be carried out. I did visit the comparethemarket.com website when I was looking to renew my car insurance, but I was completely unaware that this would entitle insurance companies such as Admiral, Swinton and others to carry out credit searches on me – after all, I didn't ask them to provide insurance cover, let alone provide me with credit. I wonder how many people innocently browse these comparison websites unaware that by doing so they are offering a number of insurance companies the authority to carry out credit searches on them. And how many of these people realise that the greater the number of searches carried out on them, the worse it looks to a potential lender? JC, by email

A: James Jones of Experian explains: "What generally happens here is that you give permission to the providers, via the comparison site, to carry out searches of your credit report – now and possibly at future renewal dates – for the purpose of ID verification and credit quotation. They do the latter because many people elect to pay insurance premiums through credit instalments, so this enables them to quote you a price for this up front alongside the basic premium. Importantly, the footprints that these inquiries leave behind on credit reports are not the 'credit application' type so they are not seen by lenders and they don't influence credit scores. You have a legal right to see all searches when you check your own credit report, of course. This factsheet provides a bit more detail about the different types of search footprints: www.experian.co.uk/assets/consumer/downloads/resources/searches-oct11.pdf." We also asked comparethemarket.com for a comment, which they agreed to provide but, despite being reminded, they failed to provide this.

**

Q: I am a pensioner and have been planning to move to a European Union country in a year or so. I need to be able to draw my state pension, which I can currently do whilst Britain is a member of the European Union. I am now very worried that with the promise of a referendum we might pull out of Europe and I will lose my entitlement to a state pension in Europe. What do you think? If we do pull out - perish the thought - do you think arrangements will be made for we senior Brits who want to live in the EU and draw our state pension? This issue will obviously affect hundreds of thousands of British pensioners living in the EU. JH, by email

A: Your state pension is yours as of right and is not dependent on where you live. If you retire abroad, you keep your entitlement to receive your basic state pension. However, you may lose any annual increases in the level of state pension unless you live in one of the countries where the Government has agreed it will uprate the pension payments in line with those paid within the UK. The list of countries where you will get annual increases is quite long, but very far from comprehensive. It includes countries with which the UK has close connections – such as the United States, Australia, Israel and Jamaica – and those nearby territories that have close ties but are independent jurisdictions – the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. It also includes all the European Union and most other European countries. Given this, it seems likely that even if the UK decided to withdraw from the European Union state pensions would still be uprated annually. We did speak to the Conservative Party, which asked us to forward your question to them to enable them to provide an answer. Despite this and reminding them on three occasions, we had no reply. The referendum has been pledged by the Conservative Party if they win the next election. While current opinion polls show support for withdrawal, many observers believe that public opinion might shift during a referendum campaign – if a referendum does take place.

**

Q: I purchased a pair of Dr Dre Beats Mixr headphones for £160 for my 14-year-old son – who paid half – following some good work by him at school. He was delighted with them. But despite only ever been used lightly, they stopped working properly after only three months. I enquired of Beats' customer service department if they could put the fault right. It took almost two months for them to respond and since then I have provided lots of information. Unfortunately we cannot find the receipt, but Beats agreed to accept a copy credit card statement – which I have supplied - as proof of purchase. My son has been without properly functioning headphones for three months. All Beats needed to do, I think, was provide a new cable, but buying one would cost £20. These were very expensive headphones and I think the customer service has been unacceptable and the delay is difficult to explain to my son. JB, Cheshire

A: We share your frustration. We have been emailing Beats for weeks trying to get them to look into this – and have not even had an acknowledgement. Happily, your persistence has been more successful than ours. You have sent us a copy of correspondence from Beats which shows that it will now replace the headphones after you return your existing pair to its warehouse in the Netherlands. All you then need to do is to recover the estimated £15 postal cost for despatching the parcel – good luck.

Questions of Cash cannot give individual advice. But if you have a financial dilemma, we’ll do our best to help. Please email us at: questionsofcash@independent.co.uk

Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown

News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
News
people
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
artCultural relations between Sydney and Melbourne soured by row over milk crate art instillation
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux play teeneage lovers in the French erotic drama 'Blue Is The Warmest Colour' - The survey found four times as many women admitting to same-sex experiences than 20 years ago
arts + entsBlue Is The Warmest Colour, Bojack Horseman and Hobbit on the way
News
Two giraffes pictured on Garsfontein Road, Centurion, South Africa.
i100
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleBenidorm, actor was just 68
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
News
people
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features playground gun massacre
News
i100
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Training Programme Manager (Learning and Development)-London

    £28000 - £32000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manage...

    1st Line Support Technician / Application Support

    £20000 - £24000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A leading provider of web based m...

    Team Secretary - (Client Development/Sales Team) - Wimbledon

    £28000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Secretary (Sales Team Support) - Mat...

    Accountant / Assistant Management Accountant

    Competitive (DOE): Guru Careers: We are looking for an Assistant Management Ac...

    Day In a Page

    Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

    Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

    Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
    Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

    Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

    When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
    5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

    In grandfather's footsteps

    5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
    Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

    Martha Stewart has flying robot

    The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
    Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

    Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

    Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
    A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

    A tale of two presidents

    George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
    Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

    The dining car makes a comeback

    Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
    Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

    Gallery rage

    How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
    Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

    Eye on the prize

    Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
    Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

    Women's rugby

    Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
    Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

    The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

    With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
    Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

    How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

    As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
    We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

    We will remember them

    Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
    Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

    Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

    Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
    Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

    Acting in video games gets a makeover

    David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices