Virgin bungle declares man dead 3 times

Fred Banagan knows to his cost that there's life after death. Bangan was declared dead by credit agency Equifax a record three times - despite the 52-year-old being very much of this world, busy running a care agency.

The confusion - traced to erroneous information from Virgin Mobile - saw Banagan billed multiple charges, time and time again. Even when technology claimed he was with his Maker.

'Not a comedy'

"It's like the character in Little Britain," he told the Mail, "who taps away at her keyboard and then says, ''Computer says no.' Except in my case it's, 'Computer says you're dead.' I could do nothing about it. And this was real life, not a comedy."

To make the credit mix-up even worse, Banagan, from St Albans, Hertfordshire, had been seriously ill, with numerous health worries from prostate cancer. However the determined Banagan continued to forge ahead, building up a business providing carers and equipment for the disabled.

When Banagan applied to RBS for a loan in 2008, he was refused: Virgin Mobile, despite continuing to take regular amounts of money from his account, told Equifax that Banagan was deceased. Eventually, the problem was traced to Virgin, who amended the account.

Back from the dead - x 3

But just two years later, with his business expanding, Virgin again told Equifax that Banagan had, for the second time, Gone to Glory. Despite Banagan still continuing to pay charges to Virgin Mobile.

Again the fault was traced and Banagan's credit history was revived - only for Virgin to issue another deceased tag on Banagan's account a third time, one day after removing it. Both companies, Virgin and Equifax, have now apologised to Banagan and Virgin is also prepared to offer him some compensation.

However credit rating accuracy is important. Nearly every UK adult has their own credit score ranked by a major credit rating agency.

Which? has found major credit rating errors on one in eight people, caused partly because credit rating agencies rely on lenders and utility operators like telephone and power companies for their information - which can be misleading, or at worse, plain wrong.

If you suspect your credit history is inaccurate, get in touch with an agency and attempt to put it right. For example, CreditExpert, from Experian, offer a free check.
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