30 May 2012
An advocate for accuracy in credit reporting says Australia's new Privacy Laws finally recognise the prevalence of credit rating errors, and the damage that can be wreaked on the consumer's reputation and life if they are incorrectly listed with bad credit.
Graham Doessel - CEO of MyCRA Credit Rating Repairs, says new Privacy Laws which are set to make some massive improvements in the area of correction of inconsistent data on Australian credit files, are long overdue.
"Someone who presents with bad credit is going to be refused mainstream credit for between 5 and 7 years - depending on the listing type. It's serious stuff, and if the listing shouldn't be there, it's very unfair," he says.
Mr Doessel says it is timely that the Government address the difficulties consumers face when they are incorrectly listed with bad credit.
"Creditors can and do make mistakes when placing listings on credit files, and the onus is on the consumer to identify and address those inconsistencies. But it has very much been a case of David and Goliath - with some consumers finding they are lumbered with listings that just shouldn't be there due to not having the extensive skills and knowledge required to address their complaints in the appropriate way," he explains.
The Privacy Amendment (Enhancing Privacy Protection) Bill 2012, which had its second reading in Parliament last week, is part of the Gillard Government's 'modernisation' of credit reporting, which they say will make the credit reporting regime more flexible and less prescriptive by emphasising industry-led complaint resolution.
The new laws around complaints correction will:
• Streamline the correction and complaints process for credit reporting; and
• Force the Creditor to justify credit listings and actually substantiate the information it reports on credit files; and
• Allow consumers to complain directly to the appropriate Ombudsman rather than having to go through the organisation's complaints process first; and
• Provide for remedies such as compensation for consumers who are negatively impacted by a Creditor who has failed to comply with credit reporting law (penalties for breaches of the Privacy Act could be up to $220,000 for an individual and $1.1 million for an organisation)
The introduction of the new laws are too late for Brent Uchtman, who sought MyCRA's credit repair services last year to fight a disputed credit listing which saw him refused finance.
Brent applied for a loan after purchasing some land last year, only to be told by his bank that he had a bad credit rating from a phone company that out and out shouldn't have been there.
His credit file was finally cleared in November last year, but not before he lost the land contract.
"I ended up losing the land because someone it got from under me while I struggled with this bad credit," Brent explains.
He says his case was slow because the company took so long to provide documentation.
Mr Doessel says the speed of Brent's case could have been improved if the Creditor would have had some obligation to substantiate the credit listing, or if the complaint could have been taken directly to the Creditor's Ombudsman.
"Finally there is some real incentive for Creditors to take due care with adding listings to credit files and to justify their actions, and we as credit repairers ultimately have a better avenue to help our clients remedy their credit rating errors," he says.
Graham Doessel - Founder and CEO MyCRA 07 3124 7133
Lisa Brewster - Media Relations MyCRA Mob: 0450 554 007 email@example.com
Brent Uchtman's details available on request. Brent resides in Western Australia.
MyCRA Credit Rating Repairs is Australia's leader in credit rating repairs. We permanently remove defaults from credit files.