Changes to how we manage your personal details
Your personal information is very important to us and should be protected. This is why we’re very careful about what we do with the information we need to process about you.
We want to be able to identify who our customers are, make the best and fair decisions we can about the extent of their responsibility and their ability to pay for the services we are required to supply. We want to be able to place them on the best payment arrangement or payment assistance scheme with a view to helping them avoid water debt or become free of water debt. We are also aware, due to the way our industry is set up, that we need to seek out sources of accurate, up to date and relevant information about our customers in order to meet our DPA compliance obligations as well as our business responsibilities.
We share information on all new and existing accounts with Credit Reference Agencies (CRAs) and, when fraud is suspected, Fraud Prevention Agencies (FPAs). These are highly reputable organisations that help to trace people who don’t pay their bills. They strictly safeguard the personal information we share with them about our customers. CRAs or FPAs won’t use your information to send you sales or marketing material you haven’t asked for.
Our new relationship with CRAs and FPAs means if customers move home and owe us money, we can trace their whereabouts.
If you owe us money, but don’t repay it on time, we may write to let you know we intend to file a ‘default’ with the CRAs. If you still don’t pay within 28 days of the notification, we’ll let the CRAs know. This could negatively affect your credit rating. It's worth remembering that records stay on CRA files for six years after they are closed, whether settled or not.
What we will share with CRAs: Each month we will automatically share the outstanding balance and a status reflecting the customer’s payment behaviour. If a customer is a good payer (pays their bills on time) this will be shared each month with their account balance and a status ‘0’ which tells Equifax that this customer is up to date. Customers who are more than 1 month behind will be shared as a ‘1’, 2 months a ‘2’ etc, but the highest number is a 6.
Once a customer has not paid us for 6 months then the account goes into default. When this happens, we will then issue the customer with a default notice (legal notice). Once a default notice is issued to the customer they are given a deadline date in which to make a payment. If they still do not make a payment by that date we will then let the CRA know and a default marker will be placed on the customer’s credit file.
The information that we send to Equifax is as follows:
• Customers data share reference number
• Date account opened
• Date account closed
• Default date – the date an account was defaulted
• Date of birth
• Current balance
• Default balance – the amount defaulted
• Repayment frequency – if on a payment plan
This information may then be supplied to other organisations by CRAs and FPAs so other organisations can carry out similar checks. Our leaflet explains the full details of how your data may be used.
Our quick guide also explains what we share, why we share and which markers may appear on your credit file. We strongly advise that you take a look at this document.
Information supplied to the CRA for the purposes outlined above, may, if considered potentially fraudulent by the CRA, be passed from the CRA to the FPA.
Credit explained: The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has produced an easy to read guide about credit which includes details about credit reference agencies and how to request your credit reference file.
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