Correcting credit reports and complaints

A person who believes their credit file includes inaccurate, out-of-date, incomplete, irrelevant or misleading information has the right to request that either the credit provider (s 21V PA 1988) or the credit-reporting body (s 20T PA 1988) correct that information (see also s 20 Privacy Code). The credit provider or the credit-reporting body must comply with this request within 30 days. If they need more time to comply with the request, they must notify the individual and seek a reasonable extension of time.

If the correction is not satisfactorily made, the person can make a complaint to the credit provider’s free external dispute resolution (EDR) scheme, or with the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) (for more information, see Privacy and your rights).

All credit providers who participate in credit reporting must be a member of an EDR scheme that can receive and resolve complaints about them. The current EDR schemes are the Financial Ombudsman Service, the Credit and Investments Ombudsman (previously the Credit Ombudsman Service Limited), the Energy and Water Ombudsman Victoria, and the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (seeContacts”; see alsoSolving disputes with creditors” in Unauthorised transactions and ePayments Code).

It has been proposed that from 1 July 2018, an Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) replace the Financial Ombudsman Service and the Credit and Investments Ombudsman. At the time of writing (30 June 2017), legislation has not been drafted to enact the AFCA.

If the individual believes there has been another breach of part IIIA of the PA 1988, or the Privacy Code, they are entitled to make a complaint to the credit provider or the credit-reporting body. Where such a complaint is made, division 5 of part IIIA, and section 21 of the Code require that the complaint must be acknowledged within seven days, investigated and where necessary consultation with other credit providers or credit-reporting bodies must occur. A decision must be made in relation to the complaint within 30 days or a longer period agreed to by the individual in writing.