Monday, February 09, 2004

Article: Credit files riddled with errors

The article below comes out of Australia, but I've been hearing about similar things in Canada:

Credit files riddled with errors - National - "More than a third of credit reports held about consumers contain mistakes, increasing the risk that banks or debt collectors using the system will refuse loans or chase debts on the wrong information.

The Australian Consumers Association has called for a Federal Government inquiry into the credit-reporting system after a survey published today in its magazine Choice found 34 per cent of files held by the main bureau contained mistakes.

Choice asked 58 readers to request a credit report from Baycorp, which holds 13 million individual files.

Most errors (84 per cent) were in personal details such as name, licence number or address. The consumer association said this exposed consumers to the risk of 'mismatching' - with the system giving out data on the wrong person.


The federal privacy commissioner had admitted a six-month backlog of complaints, and did not have the resources to deal with credit-reporting problems, she said."

Credit grantors are really stuck between a rock and a hard place, in many circumstances. Under PIPEDA, as interpreted by Radwanski, they can't require the SIN (which has been used to positively identify credit files). So if you are called John Smith, there is a very good chance your credit file has been pulled by someone looking for another John Smith. The first John Smith has just had his information used without his consent and he has no idea it has even happened. This "accidental" use of third party information can be avoided by positively identifying the individual. Also, it is very likely that the credit files will be filled with even more errors, since they'll be reporting informaiton about John Smith without confidence that i'll go in the right file.

No comments: