Wednesday, 1 February 2012

How to stand up to bullies

An American company based in London, QuickQuid, wrote to me out-of-the blue, claiming I was late paying back a loan in my name. I'd never heard of them and had never borrowed any money from them.  Clearly, I was the victim of crime: my identity had been fraudulently used.

Worse, the typical interest rate on loans provided by this company is around 1,700% APR.  In my case, it was over 5,200% APR.

I phoned QuickQuid.  The American woman who answered told me that she was recording the call. 

I told her, “So am I.”  

She replied, “I don’t give you permission to record me.”  

I responded, “So I don’t give you permission to record me.” 

The call had to be terminated.

The company then emailed forms requiring me to provide personal information about myself.  I refused and wrote that I had reported the matter to the police and trading standards.  I added:

“If you wish to pursue this matter further, please provide me with documentary evidence that I owe money to your company.”  

I also made clear that I would not provide any personal data about me that would be exported to the USA; it had to be processed in the UK or I would tell them nothing.

QuickQuid wrote back that my data would be sent from the UK to the USA and was subject to the “Safe Harbour” agreement. I was also told that if I didn’t provide the information required, I would continue to owe them money, there would be fees incurred, and my credit rating could be adversely affected. 

The investigation – to clear me of the debt – could only continue, they said, if I provided the personal information about me.

I refused, and wrote:

“I have taken legal advice on this, and also from the Consumer Advice line of Trading Standards. I cannot be of any further assistance, or provide any further personal information about me, unless and until your organisation provides me with documentary evidence that I actually owe you any money.  

"Furthermore, I have spoken in detail with the UK Information Commissioner’s Office, and they have advised me of the short comings of the ‘Safe Harbour’ agreement between the USA and Europe.  Therefore, I cannot agree to provide any personal data about me if it is to be exported or processed outside of the UK.

“If you continue to pursue this matter without providing documentary evidence to me, then my local police station has advised me to contact them again so that they may pursue this matter.  You surely understand that you cannot just claim an individual owes your organisation money in the absence of any evidence. 

“I trust this makes my position perfectly clear.”

Within 8 minutes of my email, QuickQuid responded:

We have completed our investigation and have closed the QuickQuid account with your information.  Any outstanding debt has been discharged and you will not be responsible for any monies owed… We truly apologize for this incident and any inconvenience it may have caused.”

● Jon Danzig on the BBC Radio 4 consumer programme, 'You and  Yours' about his experience of losing his identity through the payday lender, QuickQuid. Click the arrow to watch the video.

● See also 'How to stand up to demands from for a debt you do not owe'

● See also 'QuickQuid, my payday loan nightmare' by Jon Danzig

Other articles by Jon Danzig:

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