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Disputed credit default listing

The complaint
Customer discovered a default listed from her mobile provider.
The outcome
The default listed was valid and remained.

The issue

Woman with glasses on her headRachel Lee* applied for a personal loan but her application was rejected because she had a default listing placed on her credit file. Rachel discovered the listing was related to an overdue balance with her mobile provider, More Mobiles*.  

Rachel contacted the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman because More Mobiles would not remove the default listing. Rachel said that at the time the debt was incurred she was in financial hardship and More Mobiles did not assist her with payments. She also said she couldn’t remember any debt collection activity before the default was listed and she wasn’t aware that the default would be listed.

The investigation

The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman referred the complaint to More Mobiles to provide it with an opportunity to review its response to Rachel and to resolve the complaint.

After four weeks Rachel contacted the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman again to say that she could not resolve the default listing issue with More Mobiles. She requested that the dispute proceed to an investigation with a Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman Dispute Resolution Officer.  

The Dispute Resolution Officer requested further documentation from Rachel and More Mobiles to determine if More Mobiles had complied with its obligations under the TCP Code to consider Rachel’s financial hardship, and that it had listed the debt in accordance with the requirements of the Privacy Act 1988 and the Credit Reporting Code of Conduct.

Rachel submitted a copy of her credit report and More Mobiles submitted evidence of the payment history and debt recovery notices issued to Rachel. The investigation found More Mobiles had responded to Rachel’s financial hardship and Rachel had agreed to a payment plan. Rachel had failed to keep to the payment arrangement and More Mobiles continued debt recovery action.

When assessing More Mobiles’ debt recovery action, it was noted that debt default and demand notices were sent to the address More Mobiles had on file for Rachel and that each notice invited customers experiencing financial hardship to contact it or a financial counsellor. The default notice also warned that failure to pay the debt would result in a default listing that would remain on Rachel’s file for up to five years.  

The outcome

The conclusion reached by the Dispute Resolution Officer was that More Mobiles had met its obligations under the TCP Code, the Privacy Act and the Credit Reporting Code of Conduct. The default listing was valid and would remain on Rachel’s credit file for five years.

The case was closed with no further action required by More Mobiles.

*Name of individuals, organisations and companies have been changed.

Here's how other cases were managed

Complaint
A small business moved premises and their service provider didn't transfer their phone number to the new address.
Outcome
The service provider paid the small business $16,165 in compensation.
Complaint
Consumer had a debt to a provider for a service they never resulting in a default listing that affected their ability to secure a home loan.
Outcome
The consumer had the credit default removed and received compensation from the service provider.