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Reclaim Experian CreditExpert ID fraud insurance

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Leigh | Edited by Johanna

Updated Monthly

If you paid for Experian's credit monitoring service between January 2011 and 28 July 2014, we believe it unfairly sold the 'ID fraud expenses insurance' as part of your policy, and you may be due £100s back.

Many people have already succeeded in getting refunds via this step-by-step CreditExpert reclaiming guide - our new free online tool helps you draft and manage your complaint, or you can use our free template letters.

While every effort's been made to ensure this article's accuracy, it doesn't constitute legal advice tailored to your individual circumstances.

Some inspiration before you begin...

We launched this reclaiming guide back in August 2014 as we believe many who paid for Experian's £15 a month CreditExpert were unfairly sold part of it. Then it was untested so we deliberately only asked for 'pioneers' willing to try it. Some did.

It took time but in March 2015 the Ombudsman ruled in favour of customers in four cases, and since then, Experian has offered 'goodwill' payments to around 100 others (that we know of) who have contacted it for a refund. Here are a few for inspiration...

Having read the article, I used the free Resolver site to send them an email. I had a £225 cheque arrive in the mail this morning. Thank you MoneySavingExpert. - forumite Debt-SYD

I sent Experian a copy of the template letter and I received a goodwill payment of £243.59. Thanks so much for highlighting this issue. - via email, miss d

Filled in the template letters and posted them off last week. Have just been refunded £210 with no questions asked – makes you wonder, doesn’t it! - via email, Valerie

I also used Resolver for this just the other week, and I received a cheque in the post within a week - £205 as a gesture of goodwill … thanks MSE! - forumite lbt01

What's this all about?

CreditExpert - a subscription service offered by Experian - surged in price in January 2011 from a costly £7.99 to an outrageous £14.99 - that's £180 a year. Part of this was automatically including a mostly unnecessary identity fraud expenses insurance product.

Experian offered the CreditExpert bundle on a free 30-day trial after which customers were automatically opted in to the service. This included the insurance, which technically was a separate product to the credit rating service, and like all insurance services, people should have been given a clear opportunity to reject it - yet that was buried in the small print.

We believe Experian therefore sold the product unfairly and people are therefore due the ID fraud element back.

Martin Lewis says...

"I want to explain why we launched this campaign. Experian is a huge credit reference agency. In the old days these firms made their money by selling information to lenders about consumers to help them decide whether to lend to you. You had a legal right (and still do) to access the information via a £2 statutory credit report.

"Then some bright spark had the idea of making money by taking advantage of people's growing interest in their credit scoring. It launched a credit monitoring service, promising to tell you when your status changed, as did its competitor Equifax.

"Back in July 2007 it was priced at £5.99 a month and even then I thought it was expensive as you could get a statutory credit report for just £2.

"Then after a few small price rises, in 2011, it's radically inflated its subscription price, rising to a stonking £14.99 per month, that's £180 per year. I believe this was to take advantage of the fear many people have about not getting a mortgage, or other credit products, which means they will pay anything for a service they think will help.

"In fact, much of what it offers isn't necessary, even the products most people take seriously such as 'find out your credit score' have fundamental flaws. See my beware buying your credit score 60 second guide for more.

"At the same time as the price hike, Experian bundled a 'compulsory' ID fraud insurance expenses add-on to its service - an overblown product offering limited benefit.

"Here I believe Experian slipped up as I think it used the insurance as a negotiating chip to keep its CreditExpert customers. When some people called to cancel the service entirely it said 'we'll cut your price by £5 and we'll only cancel the ID fraud insurance', thereby making the cover effectively a standalone product.

"Companies that sell insurance have a duty to ensure it's suitable and Experian failed to do this. In the months before we launched this guide, the pressure built on Experian.

"Then in the days before we first published this guide in 2014 Experian pulled the policy, replacing it with a non-insurance victims of fraud service for the same price of £14.99 - perhaps noting the writing on the wall. But what about all those people who bought CreditExpert in the past? Some are now getting they're cash back and so that's who we're focusing on.

"Below is a sample letter of the type people have received, while we can't say it will pay out to everyone who complains, it does seem to have adopted a policy of making goodwill payments of £5 a month for each month you had the policy plus 8% interest."

We approached Experian to give it a right to reply on this issue. Here is what it said (in March 2015):

"We highly value our customers and their views and will always look to resolve issues where we can. We have received a small number of individual complaints relating to a previous version of our CreditExpert product, which we are working with each customer to resolve on a case by case basis.

"We care about the service we provide and are always sorry if any of our customers are unhappy about any aspect of CreditExpert. If any customers have any questions or concerns, we would encourage them to call us on 0800 013 88 88 or 0344 481 0800 so we can help."

We however believe you should follow our guide below...

We think bundled ID fraud insurance was unfairly sold

Between January 2011 and 28 July 2014, CreditExpert was £14.99 per month (the first month was free), with the service automatically including ID fraud expenses insurance.

The product covered fees you could have racked up when putting your house back in order if you had fallen victim to ID fraud, such as legal fees, the cost of replacing documents and the cost of making phone calls. It didn't cover any actual loss from the fraud itself.

We think the product was unfairly sold because you effectively had to get the ID cover to sign up, even though it was optional. Experian told us: "They [customers] were unable to proceed if they did not accept the insurance terms and conditions."

It failed to clearly highlight the fact you could cancel it so many unwittingly paid for an expensive, unnecessary and unsuitable policy.

Credit Expert Credit Expert

It said this insurance was an integral part of the CreditExpert product. But it was a standalone policy which most people were unaware they could opt out. It listed the ID fraud policy price as a separate £6.40.

If you have a keen eye (see right), you might have seen this little nugget of information, present in confirmation emails and on the Experian site: "The insurance makes up £6.40 out of your £14.99 per month membership fee - if you decide to continue membership after your 30 Day trial."

How could you cancel the insurance at the time?

Why weren't customers able to opt out if the product wasn't suitable?

I am an existing customer but I took out the product before January 2011. Would I have had the ID fraud insurance?

I am an existing customer and subscribed between January 2011 and July 2014, what insurance would I have had and has it been scrapped now?

We have asked the regulator to investigate Experian CreditExpert ID fraud insurance. We've written to the Financial Conduct Authority to ask it to fully investigate the CreditExpert 'compulsory' ID fraud expenses insurance product. We've urged the regulator to take action to ensure Experian customers are fully refunded. The FCA is yet to comment, but we hope it will take action.

How much could I be due?

Despite the cover costing £6.40, in all the cases we've seen Experian has offered users £5 back per month, claiming this is the wholesale value of the product.

This is the same figure the Ombudsman suggested be paid in its preliminary ruling (which Experian didn't argue with). This is because while the product was on sale it was possible to call up and cancel the add-on and pay £9.99, lowering the overall cost by £5.

We believe it should offer more, but it may be more hassle to reject the £5 offer, so it's up to you.

It has also added 8% statutory (non compounded) interest on the amount. This is the amount a court would award if it had to adjudicate. It's assumed that - if you had kept the money - you may have been able to earn interest on it.

For example, if you had the product from January 2011 until July 2014 you could be entitled to £215 compensation and a further £17.20 in interest.

Below is an example of what you might be due if you had the product for one, two or three years.

One year Two years Three years Max reclaim (three years, seven months)
Amount £60 £120 £180 £215
Amount plus interest £64.80 £129.60 £194.40 £232.20

How to reclaim CreditExpert ID fraud insurance costs

The ID fraud expenses insurance was bundled with CreditExpert between January 2011 and July 2014. If you subscribed to the product between these dates you would have been forking out £77 a year for ID fraud expenses insurance.

After July 2014 the product was scrapped and a new one, without the insurance add-on, was launched, priced at £14.99 which is the amount it currently costs.

What's the worst that can happen? Will my credit score be affected?

I use another rating agency to manage my credit score, will I have a similar problem?

I don't know whether I had the product?

I believe the product was unfairly sold to me. What should I do?

If you had ID fraud insurance with your CreditExpert product, the quickest way to contact it is simply to pick up the phone, call it and ask for your cash back. Our Experian CreditExpert ID fraud calling tips has more information on how to do this.

If you're not confident on the phone - or if you've called and spoken to it without success - you can also reclaim online.

Use our free online tool to reclaim

If you want to reclaim from Experian, you can use our free online tool. It auto-drafts the letter for you, tells you when it's got a response, and escalates it to the Financial Ombudsman Service if necessary.

We do this using the complaints firm Resolver, which provides the technology, but the underlying template letters and logic behind it are ours. We're working with Resolver on many projects to combine our expertise of how to complain with its cutting-edge technology.

All you need is your account or credit report reference, the reason you think you were mis-sold (see the Why we believe it was mis-sold section), the dates you had the product and your postcode.

For more information on how we're working with Resolver see our full Resolver guide.

Alternatively, if you prefer you can download our free Experian CreditExpert ID fraud reclaim template letter, add your details and send it directly to Experian. If you do this, make sure you keep a copy - it'll be helpful if you need to go to the Ombudsman.

Quick questions

What if Experian rejects the complaint?

How long will it take for the Ombudsman to get back to me?

What are my options if the Ombudsman rejects my complaint?

Can I complain if I've used the cover?