Australia’s new Privacy Laws, which include a credit reporting law overhaul are coming to fruition. Amendments to the Privacy Act 1988 passed through the House of Representatives yesterday. What will this mean for you, your credit file and will it make it easier to remove bad credit?

By Graham Doessel, Founder and CEO of MyCRA Credit Rating Repairs and

The Attorney-General announced late yesterday that the House of Representatives had passed reforms to the Privacy Act 1988. The Privacy Amendment (Enhancing Privacy Protection) Bill 2012 – which includes major amendments to Australia’s credit reporting laws –will now be introduced in the Senate where it is currently being considered by the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee. The Government may make further amendments in the Senate in response to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Committee’s report, which is due to report shortly.

“The House Committee has found that the reforms should be passed in their current form and the Government has moved quickly to implement those wishes,” Attorney-General Nicola Roxon said in a statement to the media yesterday.

Ms Roxon says the reforms will focus on giving power back to consumers over how organisations use their personal information. The power will be extended to consumers in the area of credit reporting.

“These changes will also provide much more power to consumers to be able to access and, if necessary, correct their credit reports,” Ms Roxon said.

Through the reforms the powers of the Privacy Commissioner’s will also be enhanced to improve the Commissioner’s ability to resolve complaints, conduct investigations and promote privacy compliance. For example, the Commissioner will also be able to apply to the court for a civil penalty order against organisations for credit reporting breaches. Penalties for an individual range $2,200 to $220,000 and for a company they range from $110,000 to $1.1 million.

We welcome the changes in the area of credit file correction. The new laws will most importantly enable consumers to force their Creditor to justify a disputed listing; and give consequences for credit reporting breaches. This is important in correcting credit listing complaints.

Whilst the changes should make a positive difference in ease of correction, what can make or break a credit listing complaint – is the individual’s knowledge of credit reporting law. In order to make a successful complaint to justify removing a credit listing, the individual must show that the Creditor has unlawfully listed it. The complainant must also be able to give evidence to show how that occurred, which means providing supporting documentation from the Creditor– which can also be difficult for the individual to obtain. Then there’s marrying the two together. Then, there’s negotiating with the Creditor.

All of these aspects of disputing a credit listing could still see a valid complaint come unstuck if not performed correctly.

In addition to this, there are a myriad of reasons why a credit listing may be unlawful which are not immediately evident by the individual. Creditors can and do make mistakes with credit reporting. They don’t give the right notification to the consumer; they don’t give them adequate time to remedy the arrears; they don’t update contact details for the client; they don’t get the account right in the first place.

So it will still give you the best chance of having a disputed credit listing fall in your favour if you open your options, solidify your case, and have the matter handled by a professional credit repairer. But it will be important to choose the right kind of credit repair and make sure you’re looked after each step of the way. Visit our main site for more details or contact a Credit Repair Advisor on 1300 667 218.

Image: Salvatore Vuono/