There has been an increase in the number of complaints to the Credit Ombud regarding difficulty consumers face in getting the correct assistance when trying to dispute the accuracy of their credit information held by the credit bureaux.
“Many of the complaints we received related to consumers at times not getting the relevant dispute reference numbers for dispute logged.” says Credit Ombud, Manie van Schalkwyk. “At times , consumers were referred to their courts or their credit providers for assistance when disputing their credit records.”
But van Schalkwyk says in terms of the National Credit Act (NCA), credit bureaux are required to take reasonable steps to seek evidence in support of the challenged information, provide any consumer who challenges their credit information with a copy of evidence supporting the information or if the credit bureau is unable to find credible evidence backing up the information, they must remove the information and all record of it from their files.
“Every person has the right to dispute the accuracy of their credit information and a dispute reference number must be issued to consumers immediately, whether the information was disputed telephonically or in writing,” adds van Schalkwyk.
He explains that the best way for consumers to dispute unfair or incorrect credit information listed on their credit profile is first to contact the relevant credit bureau and record a dispute by specifying the information under dispute and requesting a dispute reference number. The issuing of a credit bureau dispute reference number is proof that the consumer’s dispute has been logged. The credit bureau must correct the information or resolve the dispute within 20 business days.
“If you are not satisfied with the outcome or if you did not get an answer from the credit bureau you can log a complaint with the Credit Ombud, this service is free of charge to consumers,” says van Schalkwyk.
In the event that your dispute is rejected by the credit bureaux, you should contact the credit Ombud. The office requires information from the consumer including the information disputed and reasons why you are disputing it as well as your personal details.
“It’s very important to keep track of all your communication with the credit bureau, including written communication, the telephone number you used to call the credit bureau, as well as the name of the person you spoke to and the date.
“Our main aim is to ensure that innocent consumers aren’t prejudiced by incorrect or unfair credit information held on their credit profiles and that credit bureaux respond to consumer enquiries as they are required to by law,” says van Schalkwyk. Consumers can contact other credit bureaux on the following numbers:
Transunion – 0861 886 466
Experian – 0861 105 665
Compuscan – 0861 514 131
XDS – 0860 937 000
And the Credit Ombud on 0861 662837 or www.creditombud.org.za