Stop companies illegally blackmailing people using their credit file
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Each year people are illegally forced to pay companies for bills not owed, accounts not held or amounts under dispute simply to avoid having a black mark on their credit file. This may be a result of having moved property, cancelled or transferred an account or simply disagreeing with the amount owed. Companies that have access to your credit file (which astonishingly is almost any company that applies) can put a notice of a non-payment or default on your account without having to follow any routes of mediation, resolution or even have informed the person involved. This leaves many people unable to access basic credit requirements such as mortgages, credit cards or even mobile phone contracts. Blackmail is illegal in the UK under Section 21 of the Theft Act 1968; yet it happens every day in the UK. Do not be mistaken; companies holding people to ransom for money by threatening their credit file, is blackmail!
Recently, after being unable to re-mortgage my home or obtain a basic phone contract (my credit file is usually flawless), I discovered British Gas had added arrears to my credit file for a property at which I had no account (confirmed with British Gas). They are demanding £388 for one months electricity on a vacant 2 bed flat at which I previously lived. This is just one of thousands of examples I have heard.
I have won numerous cases against the big companies who have tried to blackmail me but it takes effort, knowledge, time and accepting the damaged credit file until the case has been resolved. With an impending re-mortgage or new phone contract many simply can't stick to their guns and see it through, sadly resulting in the company being paid money they are simply not owed. There is no recourse when the companies lose, just clear the balance and move on to the next vulnerable victim. With no penalty even if proved wrong, there is nothing to stop these large corporations from trying their luck repeatedly, knowing many will simply pay rather than jeopardise their credit file. For them it is simply a very profitable numbers game.
In mid-October I wrote to the Right Honourable Greg Clark MP, Secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy through my local MP about this illegal practice; but to date have received no response.
Corporations now have more power over the public than ever and their illegal conduct is not questioned. We must stand together and stop the corporate greed which has infiltrated society and holds us to ransom.
With 100,000 signatures this petition will have to be discussed in parliament. If you have ever been blackmailed in this way or simply protest how large corporations are above the law, please sign and share. Your vote makes the difference!
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