A credit rating dispute could cost me getting a mortgage renewal

Anna Tims
·1-min read
<span>Photograph: Feng Yu/Alamy</span>
Photograph: Feng Yu/Alamy

I have a loan with Sainsbury’s bank. I have never missed a payment, but Sainsbury’s issued a default notice 11 months ago. It has since admitted it was a mistake, but Equifax claims the entry is correct, while Sainsbury’s insists it has informed it of the error. My credit file also shows that no further payments have been made to Sainsbury’s since the erroneous “default”, which is not the case. I need to renew my mortgage and am stuck in a dispute which will prevent me doing so.
DS, Chessington, Surrey

This is a thoroughly alarming case. Credit files, about which few of us give a moment’s thought, can sabotage a life. Any sniff of a debt can scupper the chances of a mortgage, mobile phone contract, hire purchase or any form of credit. Both companies should therefore have acted with urgency as soon as the mistake was identified, but both allowed you to languish in limbo for six months after you reported it.

Even when I tried, the response was sluggish. Equifax told me that it can’t correct a credit file without updated data from the lender, and that Sainsbury’s failed to respond to its requests. It promised it would continue to support you in your battle with Sainsbury’s. Sainsbury’s said that Equifax had failed to apply the corrected updates it had provided. It promised it would continue to support you in your battle with Equifax. After which both sides fell silent again.

Another fortnight of chasing before Equifax confirmed, without apology, the default notice has been removed.

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