Can I order my son’s report to help sort out his debts?

Dear James,

I recently defaulted on a number of monthly payments due to being hospitalised as an emergency. I had to have triple heart bypass surgery, which has kept me from sorting my finances over the past few months.  After paying off all default payments I was relying on one of my credit cards to pay off an upcoming bill.  Today I received a text advising me that my credit had been reduced on this card.  Trying to reinstate the credit, I was informed that my report showed the defaults and credit couldn't be reinstated.  With defaults now addressed and considering the position I was in, can Experian update and reflect my position, as it is needed quite urgently and would be greatly appreciated right now. 

Liam, Liverpool

Dear Liam,

I’m really sorry to hear about your recent illness – I do hope you’re on the mend. Your credit report should be a factual record of how your various credit commitments have been managed. So if payments have been missed, for whatever reason, it’s likely that these will have to remain on your report. Your lenders do have a certainly amount of discretion for exceptional cases so, having said that, it’s going to do you no harm speaking to the lenders in question to see what they say. But assuming they won’t remove the late payments, and only they can authorise this, what you can do is add a statement (called a notice of correction) to your report explaining the background. This then becomes part of your report and is seen by any lender using the data in the future. Any adverse information that remains on your report is likely to impact you credit rating less and less as it gets older because lenders tend to focus on your most recent credit history. If you are struggling to make ends meet at the moment you might be better off seeking advice on whether there are alternatives to using credit to pay your regular bills. For example, you may be entitled to additional income such as tax credits. There are lots of great free advice agencies that can help you with this, including Citizens Advice, National Debtline and StepChange Debt Charity. Best wishes.

 (February 2014)

James
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