Many consumers who find themselves on a credit bureau list will be tempted to turn to companies who way they can remove your name from the ‘blacklist’. These companies – known as ‘credit repair entities’ – have been prohibited since 1998 from taking money in advance, by Notice 169 from the Minister of Trade and Industry.
“This regulation stipulates that companies may only accept payment once the service of improving one’s credit rating or clearing an adverse listing from the credit bureaus has been performed,” said Ms Astrid Ludin, Deputy Director General for the Corporate and Consumer Regulation Division of the Department of Trade and Industry.
The practice was prohibited after the department’s Consumer Affairs Committee had many complaints from consumers whose credit records were not improved, and they had paid (and lost) their money to these credit repair entities. Notice 169 says that consumers have a right to get a copy of their credit profile from credit bureaus at a reasonable fee (usually not more than R20). Credit bureaus are also required to provide an information service to help consumers understand the information in their credit profile.
When can credit bureaus remove your name from their blacklist?
The law says that credit bureaus must keep information for a minimum time:
Insolvencies and rehabilitations – a minimum of 10 years;
Judgements – a maximum of five years; and
Defaults in payment – for three years.
Credit bureaus may only remove accurate information from your file after the periods mentioned above.