How to deal with credit reports mistakes

If there is an error in your Credit Report there are steps you can take to deal with it. Your credit provider has to consider and respond to all complaints about your credit report, and if they’re not able to resolve the issue for you, you can refer the matter to an external dispute resolution body like AFCA.

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What’s the issue?

Spot a problem in your credit report? 

If there’s something on your credit report that you think is wrong, it’s important to reach out to your credit provider as soon as possible to have it corrected. If you need help lodging a complaint with your credit provider check out our simple guide on the best way to make a complaint to your bank. Or try using Ajust’s easy to use tool to register your complaint with your provider. 

Why a bad credit report is bad news 

Everyone wants a good credit score. If you’ve ever taken out a credit card or another loan your credit report will provide information about your repayment history of that loan. Some of the information that’s recorded on your credit report includes: 

  • Your personal details, including your name and address.
  • Details of any applications you’ve made for credit.
  • Details about any loans you have.
  • Any defaults you’ve had on your credit that are more than 60 days overdue.
  • Any bankruptcies that you have had.
  • Your overall credit score.

In some cases, this information about your credit history can stay on your record for up to 7 years. This is important because your credit report can be used by banks and other financial institutions when they are deciding whether to lend you money, as well as by businesses that may be offering you goods or services on credit, like car rental agencies, or companies that rent out household goods like fridges, TVs etc. Even things like a home loan application can be affected by a bad credit score. 

What do you need to know?

Credit report mistakes do happen 

Make sure you look out for mistakes on your credit report. Credit providers can’t put a default on your credit report just because you’re a few days late on a payment, or because your direct debit fails one time. Before they’re able to list a default credit providers need to make sure that: 

  1. They have waited at least 60 days from the date that the payment become overdue 
  2. They’ve sent you a notice telling you that the payment is overdue 
  3. They’ve sent a follow up notice about the overdue payment and informed you that if it’s not paid they intend to list the default on your credit report
  4. They’ve waited at least 14 days from the date of the second notice to give you time to make the payment. 

Get a credit report on a regular schedule

To stay on top of any mistakes, you should request a credit report with your institution on a regular basis. According to the OAIC, you should be able to request one for free every 3 months (more on this below). 

Unfortunately, most people won’t find out that there’s an issue with their credit report until they get refused credit by a new provider. If you get refused credit by a new bank or other provider and it’s not clear to you why, then it may suggest that there is an error on your credit report. 

Common reasons why there may be a mistake on your credit report

  • Your bank has suffered a system error which means that your repayments haven’t been properly recorded against your loan. 
  • You’ve entered into a hardship arrangement which hasn’t been reflected on your credit report.
  • You didn’t receive the proper notices from your credit provider due to a change of address, but were otherwise contactable via email or phone. 
  • A default has been listed for a payment that you were late on, but which you corrected before the time period expired.
  • A loan has been listed on your credit report that you didn’t take out, which may happen if you’ve been the victim of identity fraud.
  • An error has occurred that shows the same default more than once, which makes your overall report look worse than it is.  
Just a bit more

Credit providers are generally not allowed to list credit defaults on your credit report if you have a hardship arrangement in place with your provider. These protections can be very beneficial for customers so if you are behind on a repayment, or you think you may soon be behind on a payment due to a change in your financial circumstances, you should speak to your bank as soon as possible to ask them about hardship arrangements.

What can you do?

Review your credit report and take action now

Generally, you should get in touch with your bank or credit reporting body if there’s a problem. If you need help making a complaint about your credit report, Ajust is here to help. Our easy to use tool pulls together all the information that your bank needs to resolve a credit report issue, and we can follow them up to get a resolution.

Steps to take when there's a mistake

If you think there has been an error on your credit report, use this guide to review your report and make a credit report complaint if necessary. 

1. Get a copy of your credit report as soon as possible. All credit reporting bodies are required to give you a copy of your credit report. The main credit reporting agencies are Illion, Experian and Equifax. You can access your credit report for free once every three months, or any time that you’ve been refused credit in the last 90 days. If you’ve been refused credit the provider should tell you that that’s the reason, so that you can obtain your credit report for free. 

2. Review your credit report for any issues, including: 

  • Any duplicate entries.
  • Any loans that are showing as overdue that you have obtained a hardship arrangement for.
  • Any loans that you didn’t take out which are showing as overdue.
  • Any loans that are showing as overdue which you have repaid.
  • Any overdue loans that you didn’t receive any notices about.  

3. Contact your credit provider about any issues. When reaching out to your credit provider make sure you provide them with any evidence you have about your complaint. Eg if your credit report shows a loan as overdue that you have been paying on time, collect any bank statements which show the payments being made. Or if you think someone else has taken out a loan in your name, report the matter to police and provide a copy of the police report.   

4. Provider response. Your provider is required to respond within 7 days acknowledging that they’ve received your complaint, and needs to make a decision about your complaint within 30 days. If you haven’t heard from them within that time make sure to follow up with them or you can lodge a complaint with an external dispute resolution (EDR) provider. 

5. External Dispute Resolution. If you don’t get the result that you want from your provider you can make a complaint to an EDR provider about your credit report issue. We’ve got helpful guides on how to make a complaint to the Banking Ombudsman that you can take a look at. Or you can check out this list on the OAIC’s website for guidance on which EDR provider you can reach out to for your credit report problem. 


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