Credit reference agencies are unable to update YOUR data based on YOUR request without authorisation from the companies, as "the information they hold belongs to the companies who provide it and they are the data controllers." They subsequentely advised that "the Human Rights Act 1998 requires all 'public authorities' to act compatibly with the rights contained in Schedule 1 of the Act. However, the agency is not a public authority but a private company carrying on commercial activities. It follows that the 1998 Act does not directly place upon us any additional responsibilities or duties."
The financial institutions are also able to set their own rules for retention of data.
The UK Financial Ombudsman advise that they are unable to do anything and suggest contacting the Information Commissioner’s Office who advise that
* the information can remain on record for "as long as information is relevant for credit referencing purposes"
* there is no set time limit for how long this period of relevancy is
ICO suggest contacting the FSA for further advice. The FSA summarised response was that they were unable to resolve disputes and that I should seek legal advice.
Ultimately the irrelevancy and powerlessness of the FSA, ICO and Financial Ombudsman are quite astounding and to suggest that it is we who have to resort to legal advice in order to control our own personal data is frankly insulting.
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