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FOS approach to disputes about credit reporting agencies

26 September 2014, 11:40 AM

The role of a credit reporting agency (agency) is to collect and record specific types of information about an individual. The agency’s obligation is to ensure the recorded information accurately reflects the information your credit provider has given the credit reporting agency. The type of information recorded may include default information, payment information and repayment history information.

Energy, water and telecommunications services can all be considered forms of credit (if you use the service then pay for it later). When we say ‘credit facility’, this includes energy, water and telecommunications services.

The provider of your credit facility is responsible for all aspects of it, including approving the facility, managing your account and collecting any arrears in relation to your account.

Credit providers may access information recorded by a credit reporting agency when deciding whether or not to offer you a credit facility. An agency does not provide finance to consumers and does not take collection activity to recover a debt. If you want to complain about your credit facility or any collection activity taken in relation to a debt, which may include recording default information or repayment history, you need to lodge a complaint against the credit provider who provided the credit facility or recorded the default information.

If you lodge a dispute at FOS against an agency but the conduct complained of was by a credit provider, FOS will generally direct your dispute to the credit provider that gave you the credit facility or provided the default information to the agency. This may involve lodging your complaint at another external dispute resolution scheme. If this is the case, FOS will inform you and provide contact details for the other scheme. Where the credit provider is not a member of another external dispute resolution scheme, or the other scheme does not have jurisdiction to consider your complaint, FOS will consider the dispute against the agency.

We will consider a dispute lodged at FOS against an agency when the issue is whether the information recorded by the agency is accurate and up-to-date. For example, a dispute may arise about whether the default information has been recorded against the correct consumer or in error against another consumer.

An agency will only remove or amend information it has recorded about an individual if the information is incorrect.

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