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

Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
tv'The Last Kingdom' embraces politics, religion, warfare, courage, love and loyalty, say creators
Sport
Sergio Romero saves Wesley Sneijder's penalty
world cup 2014But after defeating the Dutch, Lionel Messi and Argentina will walk out at the Maracana on Sunday as underdogs against Germany
Sport
Scoreboard at the end of the semi-final World Cup match between Brazil and Germany at The Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte
Sport
'Saddest man in Brazil' takes defeat with good grace, handing replica trophy to German fans
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
peopleThe Game of Thrones author said speculation about his health and death was 'offensive'
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman and Lauren O'Neil in Jamie Lloyd's Richard III
theatreReview: The monarch's malign magnetism and diabolic effrontery aren’t felt
News
Glamour magazine hosts a yoga class with Yogalosophy author Mandy Ingber on June 10, 2013 in New York City.
newsFather Padraig O'Baoill said the exercise was 'unsavoury' in a weekly parish newsletter
Extras
indybest
News
people'She is unstoppable', says Jean Paul Gaultier at Paris show
Sport
Alexis Sanchez and apparently his barber Carlos Moles in Barcelona today
football
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has her magic LSD brain stolen in this crazy video produced with The Flaming Lips
video
Arts and Entertainment
In his own words: Oscar Wilde in 1882
theatreNew play by the Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials - and what they reveal about the man
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unless films such as Guardians of the Galaxy, pictured, can buck the trend, this summer could be the first in 13 years that not a single Hollywood blockbuster takes $300m
filmWith US films earning record-breaking amounts at the Chinese box office, Hollywood is more than happy to take its lead from its new-found Asian audience
News
The garage was up for sale in Canning Place Mews for £500,000
newsGarage for sale for £500,000
Life and Style
tech
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
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

    Associate CXL Consultant

    £40000 - £60000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: CXL, Triple Po...

    Associate CXL Consultant

    £40000 - £60000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: CXL, Triple Po...

    Financial Planning Manager, Qual Accountant, £380

    £300 - £380 per day: Orgtel: Financial Planning Manager, Banking , London, £30...

    Business Analyst - Financial Services, Trading Systems, Agile

    £60000 - £75000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: A leading fina...

    Day In a Page

    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    The German people demand an end to the fighting
    New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

    New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

    For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
    Can scientists save the world's sea life from

    Can scientists save our sea life?

    By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
    Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

    Richard III review

    Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
    Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

    Hollywood targets Asian audiences

    The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
    Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

    Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

    Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
    Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

    Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

    Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
    10 best girls' summer dresses

    Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

    Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
    Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

    Westminster’s dark secret

    Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
    Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

    Naked censorship?

    The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
    Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

    Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

    As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
    Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

    David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

    Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil