A Subject Access Request is a right that consumers have under the Data Protection Act 1998 to obtain from any company the information that is held about them by that company.
The ‘subject’ or ‘data subject’ means the consumer.
‘Access’ is the statutory right that a consumer has to obtain a copy of the information.
The ‘request’, within the meaning of a Subject Access Request, is the formal procedure of applying for the information in writing, and the payment of a statutory fee, usually of £10.
Any individual can ask to see all of the information that any company holds about themselves that is held on computer and/or is stored in any paper records that can be easily retrieved (e.g. in a filing cabinet).
To make a Subject Access Request, you need to write to the person or organisation that hold your information and send the appropriate fee. Each company may encourage you to complete its own version of a Subject Access Request form, as this will ensure that you supply it with sufficient information to respond promptly, although the law allows you to make a request using a simple letter.
In most cases, the fee is £10, but if you make a Subject Access Request to a credit reference agency for your credit report, then the fee is reduced to £2, and the information must be provided within seven working days.
In most other cases, any other company must reply within 40 days to a Subject Access Request, and if the company needs further information to enable it to do so, it must act promptly in requesting any further information necessary to fulfil the Subject Access Request.
In addition to checking your credit report when assessing you for credit, most lenders check fraud prevention databases. You can find out what is held on fraud prevention databases by sending a Subject Access Request, together with the fee of £10, to each of the companies concerned, which include CIFAS and Hunter.
Remember that the CIFAS Entries on the credit report that is visible to you may only be a subset of the full information that CIFAS holds about you.
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