This article discusses Richardson Lissack recent experiences with advising company executives and individuals who have been issued adverse fraud indicators by banks with Cifas, a credit-reporting agency. These markers may result in the loss of their credit rating for up to six years, even if they were not at fault.
The Credit Advisory Service is a service provided by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to warn consumers about credit risks. Cifas is a group founded by banks and other financial companies to protect their interests – it flags individuals who, in their view, may be potential frauds and works to prevent them from obtaining credit. Other identifiers
However, there are cases when Cifas markers result in serious consequences, particularly when the customer is not at fault. The variety of problems we’ve had lately has us concerned that some financial institutions and Cifas conduct investigations with a lack of diligence. We’re also gaining a greater understanding of which banks are the worst offenders and seeing repeated worrisome actions
For example, we’ve observed several genuine buy-to-let firms who have cancelled planned purchases due to their concerns about the impact the Coronavirus outbreak had on the housing market. As a result, their deposit money has been returned to their attorneys, but their accounts have been shut down and a fraud marker is placed against them.
There’s been a lot more interest from clients that have bank invoice financing arrangements, only to find out that they’ve been penalized for misusing their funds. We’ve seen some extremely harsh contracts drawn up by clients who have received terrible levels of service, which result in difficulties.
We’ve also seen everything from credit applications going wrong to people being named as fraudsters or money launderers, as well as employee conflicts with financial institutions.
Clients frequently come to us when their attempts at resolving difficulties have failed. The most effective challenges to such indicators, in our experience, are complicated – they are highly legalistic and involve demonstrating that the banks have made a mistake.
The banks’ fraud definition is broader than the criminal code, making it more difficult to disprove. Cifas markers can be hidden behind your credit score for up to six years if they aren’t refuted. This can lead to your bank account being closed with little notice in extreme situations, and the difficulties of finding new financial facilities that some firms have
The good news is that when the banks get it wrong, they will admit their mistakes.
If you applied for credit in the past, you may have encountered the term ‘CIFAS markers ‘. They have been referred to by the media during recent years, with some businesses and individuals finding it difficult to access credit because of the presence of a CIFAS marker on their file. If you’re struggling with a CIFAS marker, why not contact Richardson Lissack.