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Demystifying misconceptions relating to the removal of adverse consumer credit information Print E-mail
Wednesday, 14 May 2014

The removal of adverse consumer credit information and information relating to paid up judgments, commonly referred to as the “credit amnesty”, came into effect on 1 April 2014.

This meant that from 1 April 2014, all registered credit bureaus (listed below) should remove adverse consumer credit information on their systems for a period of two months until the end of May 2014.

The adverse consumer credit information that credit bureaus needed to remove from 1 April 2014 includes:

1)    Subjective classifications of consumer behaviour such as: delinquent, default, slow paying, absconded or not contactable;

2)    The adverse classification of enforcement action, i.e. those that are related to enforcement action taken by credit providers including classifications such as: handed over for collection or recovery, legal action or write off; 

3)    Details and results of disputes lodged by consumers irrespective of the outcome of such disputes; and

4)    Adverse consumer credit information contained in the payment profile represented by means of any mark, symbol, sign or in any manner or form.

Paid up judgments, which means civil court judgment debts, including default judgments where the consumer has settled the judgment debt, should also be removed from the credit bureau records from 1 April 2014, says Nomsa Motshegare, CEO of the National Credit Regulator (NCR). Where a consumer has paid the judgment debt, the credit provider must notify the credit bureau of this within seven days of receiving the payment. The credit bureau must remove that judgment from the consumer’s credit record within seven days of receiving proof of payment. The consumer no longer has to apply to a court to rescind the judgment so that it can be removed from his/her credit record. “This will save consumers a lot of money that they could have paid to lawyers”, adds Motshegare.

From 1 April 2014 until the end of May 2014, credit bureaus must not display this information on consumers’ credit records.  Motshegare stresses that consumers are, however, still liable to pay their debts.

Motshegare says there has been confusion and misconceptions around the process. “We have also found that some consumers don’t know where and how to get a copy of their credit reports”, she adds.

Below, Motshegare shares common misconceptions about removal of adverse consumer credit information and information relating to paid up judgments:

·         It is a credit amnesty and it will wipe out their debt (they are no longer obligated to pay the debt);

Ø  NCR response – Consumers must pay their debts.

·         The payment profile will be removed and they will start on a clean slate;

Ø  NCR response – The payment profile will remain on the consumer’s credit bureau records.

·         When the credit bureaus have removed the consumer’s adverse or paid up judgment(s), the consumer’s name will no longer appear at the credit bureaus.

Ø  NCR response - Consumers must realise that every person who has an account anywhere in South Africa with a credit or service provider, who makes use of credit bureau services, will find the information about the account is recorded with a credit bureau, irrespective of whether the account is paid regularly or not.

·         After the information is removed, they will automatically get credit.

Ø  NCR response – That is not so, credit providers are required to conduct an affordability assessment before granting credit.

·         You pay an extra fee to get the information removed in terms of this process over and above your debt.

Ø  NCR response – The removal of adverse consumer credit information and information relating to paid up judgments is automatic and free.

In conclusion, Motshegare advised consumers to contact the National Credit Regulator or the Credit Ombud for any clarity or assistance. She further advised consumers to contact the credit bureaus for a copy of their credit reports.

A consumer that requires information relating to his or her credit record can contact the credit bureaus below:
TransUnion - 0861 482 482
Experian S.A – 0861 105 665
Xpert Decisions Systems (XDS) – (011) 645 9100
Compuscan – 0861 514 131
Consumer Profile Bureau – 010 590 9505
CreditWatch (Pty) Ltd - 0861 000 694
Crosscheck Information Bureau (Pty) ltd (previously known as MLCB)  - 0105 909 505
Inoxico – 010 001 0540
LexisNexis Risk Management – 011 245 6500
Managed Integrity Evaluation (Pty) Ltd - 012 644 4000
Robertsons International Reports (Pty) Ltd - 011 777 4000
Tenant Profile Network (Pty) Ltd - 086 187 6000
Tenant Watch Business Activities (Pty) Ltd - 011 394 6828
 

Escalation of matters
Credit Ombud – 0861 662 837 
National Credit Regulator – 0860 627 627

(Source - NCR Press Release)
 

 

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