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Issue 19 - November 2014

Disputes about credit reporting agencies

 

The role of a credit reporting agency (CRA) is to collect and record specific types of information about an individual. The CRA’s obligation is to ensure that the information recorded accurately reflects the information the 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 a credit facility is responsible for all aspects of it, including approving the facility, managing the account and collecting any arrears in relation to it.

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

If an individual lodges a dispute at FOS against a CRA, but the conduct complained of was by a credit provider, FOS will generally direct the dispute to the credit provider who gave the credit facility or provided the default information to the agency. This may involve lodging the complaint at another external dispute resolution scheme. If this is the case, FOS will inform the individual 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 the complaint, FOS will consider the dispute against the CRA.

We will consider a dispute lodged at FOS against a CRA when the issue is whether the information recorded by the CRA 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.  

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

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