As listed on our FAQ on your Credit Score, a credit report may list overdue payments of any kind (by 14 days), unreliable or missed payments, or defaults. That report holds information on your profile as a credit risk and will impact upon your suitability for certain types of loans and rates.
The nature of those items listed on your credit score can be contested and removed, or in other cases, an explanation letter may be provided to a lender detailing the circumstances of the default.
Service Providers Listing Defaults
There is nothing worse than having a service provider of any kind list a default when the circumstances did not warrant its inclusion. A credit provider will list a default under the following circumstances.
- The payment has been overdue for at least 60 days.
- The overdue payment is equal to or more than $150.
- A notice has been sent to your last known address to let you know about the overdue payment and requesting payment.
- A second notice was sent at least 30 days later to let you know that if you don’t make a payment the credit provider intends to disclose the information to a credit reporting body.
- The credit provider must wait at least 14 days after issuing the second notice before listing the default.
If a request is made for hardship considerations a credit provider is not permitted to list a default, and they are not permitted to list a default 14-days after the hardship decision was made (they may list the default if you have made a similar hardship request in the previous four months).
Clearing Your Credit Report
The Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) states that you have the right to obtain a correction on your credit report for any inaccurate, out-of-date, incomplete, irrelevant or misleading information. You may do this free of charge.
As detailed in the FAQ on credit reports, you have a right to obtain your credit report once every three months without charge, and you may contest the listed defaults or reports at any time.
The Consumer Action website provides a word document that acts as a template for removal requests. You may download it here (Word DOC). It’s always best to contact us before making this request so we can guide you on the relevant information to include, and the applicable legislation that should be cited.
Large companies and credit reporting agencies routinely make errors.
Obtaining a Copy of Your Credit Report
What Information is Required?
Most reporting agencies will ask the following of you:
- Your full name
- Your date of birth
- Your driver’s licence number
- Copies of identification (like a driver’s licence, birth certificate or Proof of Age card, as well as an official document with your name and address (i.e. rates notice, utility bill or bank statement))
- Your current and previous address
- Your current employer or previous employer
- Name of the organisation to which you last applied for credit
- A daytime telephone number
If you request a credit report, your current contact details will then become available to any lenders, creditors or debt collectors that check your report.
You can apply for your credit report online at Equifax , by calling 198 332. You may also make a written request with the above information, and send the request to: Equifax, GPO Box 964, North Sydney, NSW 2059. You should indicate your preference of email or post.
- A copy of your driver’s licence, passport, birth certificate or proof of age card; and
- A copy of a document issued by an official body (such as a utility bill or bank statement).
Experian Credit Services Australia
Experian make a form available online . Alternatively, you may call them on 1300 783 684.
If Credit Report is in Error
If you have anything listed on your credit report that shouldn’t be there, you should call us, your legal representation and send a clearance letter. The letter should include a very clear reason why the error exists, and make reference to applicable legislation.
Lenders and Banks will generally assess your explanation on a case-by-case basis, and their decisions are based on the weight of your circumstances, the evidence you provide, and the actions you took to correct the situation. They understand that many reports are listed in error, or are contested. You should Include a sentence confirming that you understand how serious the credit problem was and intend never to get into that situation again (i.e. take ownership).