The Credit rating firm Experian are under fire for unfair processing and profiling of consumer data and selling data without consumer consent. The company who holds 95% of the UK adult populations data could be eligible to make a £750 compensation payment to each of them resulting in potential damages of £34.5bn to Experian.
In a landmark case the firm is being sued in the high court accused of mis-selling data and building reports and profiles on people that could be inaccurate, the Mail on Sunday reports. Experts believe if the case proceeds and is successful it could bankrupt the company having to pay out billions in compensation. The case accuses Experian of gathering data on British adults from the UK census, electoral roll and online questionnaires, data which once compiled was sold online to make a profit.
In October of last year, the Information Commissioners office found that Experian was selling customers data without their consent. And last week a Lawyer from the South West filed a Writ in the high Court for £750. A Writ is an order issued by a legal authority to a court that orders a person or company to cease performing a specific action. According to the Writ filed at the high court against Experian, it claims the firms processing and profiling of data was neither fair nor transparent and data was sold without the owner’s consent. If the Writ Is successful it could mean around 95 percent of the UK adult population or 46 million people could each be owed £750 each if Experian held data on them.
In reply to the case Experian said its data had no impact on people’s credit rating. But the information was sold to political parties and other data companies. Experts also believe Experian compiled profiles on people containing in depth personal information like where they shopped and what they were looking at online. Experian said: “We disagree with the ICO’s view and we are appealing. We do not believe there are any reasonable grounds for bringing this case.”
Credit profiles are used by lenders and other agencies which offer credit to determine someone’s ‘creditworthiness’. These reports are used by to check if someone is a reliable person to lend money to or not.
Experian is a Credit profiling firm, and one of the biggest out there and many companies go there to find people to lend too etc. However, they are not authorised to sell on this information without people giving their consent first. It is believed that Experian did so to make a profit and sold it to companies whose interest is to profile potential clients for personal gain. High court battles like these are normally very lengthy as both sides can argue for years until a conclusion is made. Whatever happens, it may force other companies to look at how they store and share people’s personal information in the future.