The TIO has introduced an initiative for more efficient handling of complaints relating to credit reporting. Under the new initiative, TIO staff dealing with unresolved referrals will ask for some important information from consumers and members prior to any conciliation.
The TIO anticipates that this approach will bring about improved efficiency and quicker closure times for these complaints. The Deputy Ombudsman Diane Carmody and Principal Investigator, Jill Brewer have substantial experience investigating complaints about credit reporting, from their time in the financial services sector. They have analysed a number of TIO complaints about credit reporting and have identified that outcomes usually turn on the analysis of technical and procedural requirements set out in the Privacy Act and related regulations and codes. In such a prescriptive regulatory setting, asking consumers and providers to supply information so that it is available at the time conciliation commences, will assist the parties to reach agreement more quickly.
A Credit Reporting Group made up of experienced TIO Officers has been formed. The Group will deal with all credit reporting complaints.
How will the new approach look in practice?
Here is an example of a typical list of information you may be asked for:
- The date of the notice advising of the overdue payment and that a default may be made
- The address that the notice was sent to
- If possible, a copy of the actual letter. If not, screen shots to show that it was sent and the template letter
- The date of the listing and the amount listed
- If the amount listed is different from the amount in the notice, an explanation of why, and
- Details of any contact from and/or payments made by the customer between the notice and the listing.
- If the customer claims that the account in question was not theirs, identity documents shown at the time the service was taken out.
Here is an example of a typical list of information a consumer may be asked for:
- A complete copy of their credit report
- If they say the amount in question was paid prior to the listing, evidence of payment such as bank or credit card statements
- Any other information available to show why a listing should not have been made, such as emails or other correspondence with the provider
- If they claim that account in question was not theirs, evidence of their address at relevant times.
Importantly, this information will be requested before conciliation of a case begins.
The TIO is confident that this initiative will contribute to more efficient and timely resolution of credit reporting complaints.
If you receive an information request relating to a credit reporting matter and would like additional assistance, please contact the Investigation Officer who has sent the request, or alternatively contact the TIO’s Industry Engagement department at firstname.lastname@example.org.