Halifax - no obligation to reply to SARN request?

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I sent a SARN to Halifax Data Compliance Officer (standard letter from site) on 18/09/02 - no reference to old mortgage, just my old addresses including the one the mortgage was for. On 24/09/02 I received a letter from their Mortgage Recoveries Dept, telling about how I don't need to serve a SARN, just ask for info required and they will send it - so long as I reply within 10 days!

On 27/09/02 I received a SARN request form from Data Protection Customer Services Retail Regulatory Risk. I sent back the form filling in all details they asked for, apart from my phone number, with a postal order on 07/10/02. I also re-sent all my previous addresses as before. Attached was another form asking for relevant company name or subdivision plus account number, product type eg personal loan, data required and dates from/to. On this form I wrote ALL DETAILS NO EXCEPTIONS, but did not fill in any of the boxes.

This morning (09/10/02) I have received another letter from Data Protection saying that as I have not requested specific information they cannot process my request and have returned my postal order. She says she has performed standard searches using the limited details I provided but they have all come up negative, and she has enclosed these searches. She also states that "The Data Controller is not obliged to respond unless the Data Subject has given significant information to locate records, particularly when an organisation is so large. Under the Data Protection Act, the Data Controller, Halifax plc.... must be satisfied with the identity of the Data Subject."

Is this right? I appreciate they must identify I am who I say I am, but surely in carrying out even minor searches, they have already established this fact. Also, I would have thought the fact that they sent my original letter onto Mortgage Recoveries would imply they have some information on their computer about me.

I would appreciate any replies as I am trying to compose a letter to request the info again.

Thanks Tracey

-- One Angry Mother (madcow678@hotmail.com), October 09, 2002


The are allowed to "satisfy" themselves that the identity has been proved (you will no in your own mind if this is true or not).

Write to them again, stating that the original letter is the SARN notice and 40 days are ticking. If they carry on wasting your time then you will go to the Information Commissioner.

Again make sure they deffinately know you are who you say you are! The notice period starts from the first letter. Resend the fee (as otherwise they will throw it back to delay matters), and then sit and wait.

Has your case yet been settled? If not then don't let them bully you into paying extra for the "information gathering" period.

-- Geoff Winters (Geoff-winters@supadooper.com), October 09, 2002.

How's this going?

-- Geoff Winters (Geoff-winters@supadooper.com), October 11, 2002.

I sent them a letter yesterday, stating that if they a) don't have any info on me how did they manage to pass my letter onto Mortgage Recovery, and b) should this not satisfy them about my identity. I gave them the roll number for my old mortgage and stated that this is only a starting block and I want ALL information from all areas, including info passed between departments and to outside companies.

I got a letter back today saying that the Mortgage Recovery was the important bit of info they needed (even tho the silly cow had already passed my original letter onto them, which incidentally was now 4 weeks ago, and it took the data controller 2 weeks to reply to, by which time I was on holiday - so 3 weeks warning - perhaps forewarned is fore-armed?)

Anyway, she now says she will process the SARn, so when I get the info back, I expect I'll be posting another message for help!

Thanks for asking.


-- One Angry Mother (madcow678@hotmail.com), October 11, 2002.

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