PART 2: What can you do if you believe something is wrong on your credit report? 

The article is part 2 of a 3 part series that looks at credit reports and credit scoring.

By Mike Laing, Chief executive of the Australian Retail Credit Association

If you find information in your credit report that you believe is incorrect, contact your credit provider or the credit reporting body and dispute the information on your credit report.

If you are not satisfied with their explanation, tell them why and request it is corrected. You can speak to any credit provider or credit reporting body who holds your credit information (not just the organisation responsible for the incorrect information) to ask them to investigate it for you.

You should also consider whether you have documents or other information to prove the information is not accurate. To help ensure that your dispute is dealt with quickly by a credit provider or credit reporting body, it is always a good idea to provide them with the documents or information upfront that shows an error has been made. Provide it as early as possible, as it may be critical to having the correction made.

If you feel as though you cannot deal with the correction request on your own, make an appointment with a community legal centre or a financial counsellor who can help you through the process. Community legal centres and financial counsellors provide free advice and assistance.

Be aware of companies offering credit repair, as these companies often charge high fees for services that you can do yourself, for free.

If the information on your credit report turns out to be accurate, speak to your credit provider about what it means and how it may impact you. Also consider what you can do to manage your credit effectively in the future.

The credit provider or credit reporting body must respond to you within 30 days – unless you agree to extend that period. Once the matter has been investigated, you must be provided with a written response indicating whether a correction will be made (and if not, why not).

If you’re still unhappy, you can ask the credit provider or credit reporting body’s External Dispute Resolution (‘EDR’) service to look into it; these are independent bodies who look into complaints. There are different EDR service’s that investigate different complaints. If your complaint is directed to the incorrect service, they will refer you elsewhere. You can also contact the EDR service if you have not received an answer to your complaint within 30 days.

Finally, if you are not satisfied, you can complain to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner – the independent government agency that is responsible for looking after credit reporting.

Mike is chief executive of the Australian Retail Credit Association since July 2017 and was the ARCA Board Chair from September 2012 – March 2019.

He is an experienced Director and senior executive with experience across Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and Ireland. Mike holds a Master of Commerce (Hons I), is a graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.