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the Judge; BLACKLISTED; Bank brands Laura a debtor.. and she's not even a customer.

Byline: JANE BARRIE Additional Reporting

A YOUNG mum has been blacklisted by a bank which she has never even had an account with.

Laura McArthur has discovered she can't get a credit card because the Bank of Scotland say she didn't pay back a loan of pounds 2000.

But she has never had any dealings with them and has never failed to pay any kind of debt.

The distraught mother, who has a four-year-old daughter, Jodie, called me in after she'd spent more than a year trying to clear her name.

Laura, 28, said: "This is my worst nightmare. I can't believe what's happening.

"I have been blacklisted for no reason at all.

"I don't owe a penny to the bank but no matter how hard I try, I just can't get to the bottom of this mess."

Laura was first alerted to the problem in September last year when she applied for a credit card. Within days, she had been informed that her application had been refused.

She recalled: "I was baffled when I was turned down for the credit card.

"I always pay my bills on time and hate being in debt.

"It was only when I enquired further that the credit card company told me my application had been declined because I was on their blacklist.

"When I explained to them that I did not owe anything to anyone, the card company advised me to get a copy of my credit file."

Worried Laura got in touch with credit reference agency Experian for advice.

She explained: "I couldn't believe my eyes when they sent me my file in the post.

"It said that I had defaulted on a loan from the Bank of Scotland in July 2001.

"I was stunned when they told me the sum involved was now pounds 2215."

Laura contacted the bank to complain.

She said: "I got straight on to their head office in Edinburgh and told them what had happened.

"I was relieved when they said they had no record of a loan in my name."

Laura also got in touch with a lawyer, who promised to take up her case.

She said: "I just wanted an end to the hassle and to clear my name.

"I thought I was finally getting somewhere when the Bank of Scotland confirmed they had no record of a loan in my name."

But Laura's troubles were far from over.

The housewife explained: "I eventually got a letter from the bank asking for an account number or loan agreement number.

"I couldn't believe it, as I had already written to them explaining that I didn't have a loan and I wasn't even an account holder.

"I felt like I was banging my head against a brick wall."

Laura phoned and wrote letters to the Bank of Scotland but got nowhere.

A year later, she was no further forward.

She said: "The net result is that despite various phone calls and lawyers' letters, I am still on a credit blacklist for something which is nothing to do with me. I'm appalled at the way I've been treated."

Finally, Laura reached the end of her tether and contacted me to ask for help.

I got straight on to Bank of Scotland in Edinburgh.

After checking the facts, they quickly apologised for the mistake and promised to clear Laura's credit file.

A bank spokesman said: "After investigation, we have found that Ms McArthur has no connection with Bank of Scotland whatsoever.

"The loan default has mistakenly been registered against her name.

"We're currently arranging for the removal of the default from her credit file.

"We apologise for the inconvenience caused and would like to reassure other customers that this is an extremely rare occurrence."

Like Laura, I'm glad the Bank of Scotland finally got their act together. It's just a shame it took them more than a year to do so.

THANK YOU

After my washing machine began to leak water, Powerhouse sent three separate engineers out to fix it but it was still as bad as ever. Yet within days of contacting you, I had a brand new machine delivered. I thank you from the bottom of my heart - and my washing basket.

THANK YOU

I was furious when I ordered a new bed from Index and it was delivered without a mattress. They claimed the mattress was not included in the price, even though it appeared in their catalogue. But you stepped in and sorted them out. I can now sleep sound at night. Thanks.

THANK YOU

After a holiday from hell in Tenerife, Thomas Cook offered just pounds 120 compensation. They refused to budge, even though my clothes had been destroyed by mice in the apartments. They upped their offer to pounds 320 after you got in touch with them. I am delighted with the outcome.

VERDICTS

Hubby's dead.. but when will I be a widow?

MY husband went missing at sea several years ago and has been presumed dead. Can you tell me how long I will have to wait before he is declared legally dead? Once this is the case, will I be able to claim a widow's pension?

A COURT can grant a declarator of death if it is satisfied a person has not been known to be alive for the past seven years, according to the Presumption of Death (Scotland) Act 1977. Any person having an interest, including a spouse, may raise an action for this. A decree will be effective for all purposes, including the dissolution of marriage and entitlement to claim benefits as a widow.

I had deeds to wrong house

WHEN I sold my ex-council house, I discovered the title deeds were wrong. The house, No.12, was shown as mid- terraced, when it is end-terrace. It cost pounds 600 to rectify this. Have I a claim against the lawyer who handled the initial sale?

MUCH depends upon the instructions he was given. If you told your solicitor you were buying No.12 and he got title for No.12 from the council, then there would be no claim against him. The solicitor should have sent you a plan to confirm what you were buying. If this was done and you didn't highlight an error, you can't complain. But if the council has given title to the wrong property, they normally pay to rectify this. Any claim should perhaps be directed to the council.

Old firm won't pay my wages

IAM having trouble recovering two weeks' wages from a security firm I used to work for. They are arguing over whether I was sacked or left of my own accord. Can you advise.

AN employer is not entitled to make deductions or withhold wages from you, unless this is provided for in your contract or you agreed to the cut. Refer your employer to sections 13 and 15 of the Employment Rights Act 1996. If he still fails to pay, put the claim before an employment tribunal. Lodge a form within three months.

Bike bash left me in agony

AFTER being hit by a motor- cyclist as I stood at a bus stop, I've been left with a permanent back pain. Should I pursue the bike rider for compensation?

YOU first need to find out if the motorcyclist was insured. The police report should have this info. Then a claim can be made to their insurer. But they can only deal with the case if he authorises them to do so. If he does not, you'll have to raise a court action and the insurance company would defend as a third party. If the motorcyclist was not insured, direct the claim to the Motor Insurers Bureau.

Going

going

GONE

INTERNET

AUCTION

BARMAID Jackie Mullen thought she was quids in when she spotted a mobile phone for sale on internet auction site eBay.

She bid pounds 150 for it and the seller quickly accepted her offer. So Jackie, 28, sent him a cheque.

But a week after her new Nokia handset arrived, she could not get it to work.

She contacted the seller in Leeds but he denied he was liable. Then Jackie, of Port Glasgow, phoned Vodafone - to be told the handset had been stolen.

She was forced to buy another phone costing pounds 170 from an approved retailer.

But eBay say she is not covered by their protection scheme because she agreed a price with the seller without a proper "auction".

They said: "It appears she and the seller agreed to bypass the auction process and did the deal privately.

"This is prohibited and the buyer is not covered."

INTERNET

AUCTION

ENGINEER Craig Young forked out pounds 850 to buy a laptop computer after seeing it on auction website QXL.

But more than three months later, there is no sign of the laptop.

Craig, 26, of Milngavie, near Glasgow, ordered the computer from a firm based in Arizona after checking QXL's insurance cover.

He said: "They offered up to pounds 750 should anything go wrong, so I went ahead."

Craig paid pounds 856 but was then fed a series of excuses by the US firm. Finally, he demanded his cash back but he's still waiting.

He then got on to QXL at their London HQ to put in a claim on their insurance.

But they said he could only claim pounds 150 - because they'd changed their policy.

That's when Craig called me in and I got on to QXL, who said they would now be looking into the case as a matter of urgency.

I'll let you know when I get a net result for Craig.
COPYRIGHT 2002 Scottish Daily Record & Sunday
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Copyright 2002 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Oct 27, 2002
Words:1608
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