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Going undercover to check out credit reporters Vanya Vida
27 May 2016

Ask for your information cropped

There are three main credit reporting agencies in New Zealand: Centrix, Veda and Dun & Bradstreet. According to Veda, a thousand people a year challenge the information held in their credit files. This is a right people have under the Privacy Act – to see information agencies hold about them, and request a correction if it’s wrong.

I stay on top of my credit report by requesting it from the credit reporting agencies once a year. This gives me the opportunity not only to see my credit information but also to check for the accuracy of my information such as my name, address, types of credit accounts, defaults etc. While I have not yet encountered any inaccurate information, the process of checking contributes to my creditworthiness and general peace of mind.

Credit reporting agencies hold information on almost everyone. They aren’t limited to credit sources such as credit cards, personal loans, car loans and mortgages. Credit reporting agencies also hold information about people’s tendency to make payments on their bills, such as phone, power, gas and electricity.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner conducted a spot check on the three national consumer credit reporters. The spot check was done through a mystery shopping method.

What is mystery shopping?

Mystery shopping is research tool used by organisations such as retailers, market researchers and regulators to measure quality and service standards or test compliance.  This is the first time we’ve used mystery shoppers at the OPC – it’s a way to see how agencies behave when they don’t know that anyone is watching. 

Our findings

The spot check tested credit reporters’ practice around fulfilling their access obligations under the Code. We found that:

  • All of the agencies are meeting online information requests on time.
  • Two of the three credit reporters did not respond to at least one request through an offline method such as phone, post, a personal letter or in person.
  • All of the agencies are complying with their obligation to deliver reports for free – and to charge no more than $10 for expedited reports.

The full report on our spot check is available here.

Check your own credit report

Everyone has a right to see their own credit report – to take a look at yours if you haven’t already. You can request your report through each of the three agencies’ websites:

Veda

Dun and Bradstreet

Centrix

You can also create a request for any agency through our online information access tool, AboutMe.

Finally, there is a section on our website devoted to credit information rights.

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  • I have a question: If you check your own credit report all the time does this affect your credit rating?

    Or if a bank or power company for example does a credit check on you to often would this look bad on your credit report?

    Posted by Allison Walker, 01/06/2016 2:50pm (19 months ago)

    Post Reply

    The aim of the Office of Privacy Commissioner’s blog is to provide a space for people to interact with the content posted. We reserve the right to moderate all comments. We will not publish any content that is abusive, defamatory or is obviously commercial. We ask for your email address so that we can contact you if necessary to clarify your comment. Please be respectful of authors and others leaving comments.

Post your comment

The aim of the Office of Privacy Commissioner’s blog is to provide a space for people to interact with the content posted. We reserve the right to moderate all comments. We will not publish any content that is abusive, defamatory or is obviously commercial. We ask for your email address so that we can contact you if necessary to clarify your comment. Please be respectful of authors and others leaving comments.

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