"There's a very important reason why we ask you to contact Equifax in the first instance. Equifax will mark your credit file as 'in query', so there's no further impact on your credit file until the query's resolved."
I know exactly how you feel. I had a default funny enough for £21 put on my account. BT excepted it was a mistake but won’t take it off. I opened a case with equifax and when they got through to BT they have stated I paid a part payment and I need to contact BT to pay in full and they wouldn’t take the default off (my balance is 0 I don’t owe anything!) After ringing BT for the hundredth time and being passed from pillow to post, I’ve had to open a case with the financial ombudsman ...this has been going on for 3 months now. Nobody in BT have a clue what to do! I’ve also written to head office as surprisingly you can’t contact by email.
That is awful and they really are a law unto themselves, they don’t seem to care whatsoever. I have had a really helpful guy at BT who saw they shouldn’t have placed the default and can’t even see that there was a a final bill etc. He has sent an email confirming that they shouldn’t have placed a default and there was/is a zero balance. Whilst I have to wait for Equifax and the bothered I contact them so that BT can confirm things to them I am hopeful it will be removed.
your case seems like you have grounds for a civil case against BT as well as being able to get Equifax etc to remove the data. Your ability to obtain credit at a favourable rate has been damaged and any credit you may have got in that time will have been more expensive or it may have destroyed your chances of an important loan or mortgage etc. BT have a responsibility to properly report on unpaid bills and if they are owed money they must report it but on the other hand they must not be reporting late payments/defaults where there is no bill.
I have had the same issue recently with BT. I don't even have an account with them! The last one closed 3 years ago without any pending balance. I have raised this with Experian. Did they finally remove the default notice from their credit file?