Demystifying misconceptions relating to the removal of adverse consumer credit information and information relating to paid up judgments

The removal of adverse consumer credit information and information relating to paid up judgments, commonly referred to as the “credit amnesty”, came into effect on 1 April 2014.

This meant that from 1 April 2014, all registered credit bureaus (listed below) should remove adverse consumer credit information on their systems for a period of two months until the end of May 2014.

The adverse consumer credit information that credit bureaus needed to remove from 1 April 2014 includes:

  1. Subjective classifications of consumer behaviour such as: delinquent, default, slow paying, absconded or not contactable;
  2. The adverse classification of enforcement action, i.e. those that are related to enforcement action taken by credit providers including classifications such as: handed over for collection or recovery, legal action or write off;
  3. Details and results of disputes lodged by consumers irrespective of the outcome of such disputes; and
  4. Adverse consumer credit information contained in the payment profile represented by means of any mark, symbol, sign or in any manner or form.

Paid up judgments, which means civil court judgment debts, including default judgments where the consumer has settled the judgment debt, should also be removed from the credit bureau records from 1 April 2014, says Nomsa Motshegare, CEO of the National Credit Regulator (NCR). Where you have paid the judgment debt, the credit provider must notify the credit bureau of this within seven days of receiving your payment. The credit bureau must remove that judgment from your credit record within seven days of receiving a settlement / paid up letter. The consumer no longer has to apply to a court to rescind the judgment so that it can be removed from his/her credit record. “This will save consumers a lot of money that they could have paid to lawyers”, adds Motshegare.

From 1 April 2014 until the end of May 2014, credit bureaus must not display this information on consumers’ credit records. Motshegare stresses that consumers are, however, still liable to pay their debts.

Motshegare says there has been confusion and misconceptions around the process. We have also found that some consumers don’t know where and how to get a copy of their credit reports.

Below, Motshegare shares misconceptions that people have about removal of adverse consumer credit information and information relating to paid up judgments:

  • It is a credit amnesty and it will wipe out their debt (they are no longer obligated to pay the debt);
  • NCR response – Consumers must pay their debts.
  • The payment profile will be removed and they will start on a clean slate;
  • NCR response – The payment profile will remain on the consumer’s credit bureau records.
  • When the credit bureaus have removed the consumer’s adverse or paid up judgment(s), the consumer’s name will no longer appear at the credit bureaus.
    • NCR response - Consumers must realise that every person who has an account anywhere in South Africa with a credit or service provider, who makes use of credit bureau services, will find the information about the account is recorded with a credit bureau, irrespective of whether the account is paid regularly or not.
  • After the information is removed, they will automatically get credit.
    • NCR response – That is not so, credit providers are required to conduct an affordability assessment before granting credit.
  • You pay an extra fee to get the information removed in terms of this process over and above your debt.
    • NCR response – The removal of adverse consumer credit information and information relating to paid up judgments is automatic and free.

In conclusion, Motshegare advised consumers to contact the National Credit Regulator or

the Credit Ombud for any clarity or assistance. She further advised consumers to contact the

credit bureaus for a copy of their credit reports.

A consumer that requires information relating to his or her credit record can contact the credit bureaus below:

  • TransUnion - 0861 482 482
  • Experian S.A – 0861 105 665
  • Xpert Decisions Systems (XDS) – (011) 645 9100
  • Compuscan – 0861 514 131
  • Consumer Profile Bureau – 010 590 9505
  • CreditWatch (Pty) Ltd - 0861 000 694
  • Crosscheck Information Bureau (Pty) ltd (previously known as MLCB) - 0105 909 505
  • Inoxico – 010 001 0540
  • LexisNexis Risk Management – 011 245 6500
  • Managed Integrity Evaluation (Pty) Ltd - 012 644 4000
  • Robertsons International Reports (Pty) Ltd - 011 777 4000
  • Tenant Profile Network (Pty) Ltd - 086 187 6000
  • Tenant Watch Business Activities (Pty) Ltd - 011 394 6828

Escalation of matters

  • Credit Ombud – 0861 662 837
  • National Credit Regulator – 0860 627 627
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