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Debt recovery and enforcement

Credit reports

Credit Reporting Privacy Code 2004

How credit reporting works

Privacy Act 1993, s 6, Principles 6–8; Credit Reporting Privacy Code 2004, clause 6, rules 6–11

Credit reporting agencies gather and sell information about individual peoples’ credit histories. The information they can report on includes your current credit accounts, such as hire-purchase arrangements and loans (including credit limits and your repayment history), whether you’ve ever failed to make (“defaulted on”) your repayments, any court judgments given against you for debts, and whether you’ve ever been declared bankrupt.

People who will want this information may include lenders, prospective landlords, employers and insurers, but they can’t get it without your consent. However, credit reporting agencies generally don’t need your consent to provide credit reports to debt collectors, people involved in court proceedings against you, and certain government agencies.

Credit reporting agencies must take reasonable steps to make sure the information they hold about you is accurate, up-to-date, complete, relevant, and not misleading.

There’s also a time limit on how long they can continue to report on particular things. For example, after a bankruptcy comes to an end (a “discharge” from bankruptcy), credit reporters can continue to report this for four years but no longer, and they must not keep the information about the bankruptcy for more than five years after the discharge. The same time limits apply after you’re discharged from the no-asset procedure (see “When you can’t pay your debts: Bankruptcy and other options” in this chapter).

You have the right to ask for a copy of your credit report. If any of the information isn’t correct, you can apply in writing to the credit reporter for it to be corrected.

Getting a copy of your credit record

Privacy Act 1993, s 6 Principle 6, s 40; Credit Reporting Privacy Code 2004, cl 6, rule 6(1)(b), cl 7(2)(b)

Three credit reporting companies operate in New Zealand. To check your record, or to correct any information, you’ll need to contact them all (see “Other resources” at the end of this chapter).

A credit reporting company must give you a copy of your report within 20 working days after you ask for it. They can’t charge you for this unless you ask for them to provide it within five working days, in which case they can charge you up to $10 (including GST).

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