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The Privacy Commissioner, John Edwards, is proposing an amendment to the Credit Reporting Privacy Code that would limit what credit reporters can charge individuals wanting immediate access to their credit information.

“I have started a submission process and welcome input from the public as well as the credit industry,” Mr Edwards said. The deadline for submissions is 17 May 2014.

Mr Edwards says access by individuals to the personal information recorded about them is fundamental to a fair, transparent and accountable credit reporting system.

The amendment has been prompted by the completion of an inquiry by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner into Veda Advantage’s practice of charging customers $51.95 for urgent requests for personal information. The Commissioner found that this substantially exceeded what was reasonable to charge consumers.

“The unreasonable charges that Veda Advantage has been demanding for access to consumers’ own credit information is not only in breach of the Credit Reporting Privacy Code but it constitutes a barrier to exercising fundamental access rights that damages public trust in industry practice,” Mr Edwards said.

Mr Edwards says credit reports are usually to be made available to the individuals free of charge. But in limited circumstances, credit reporters are permitted to make a reasonable charge.

The proposed amendment to the code will generally limit credit reporters to making a $10* charge.

Submissions should be made to code@privacy.org.nz by 17 May 2014.

The report into Veda Advantage’s charge for urgent requests for credit information is available here.

ENDS

For further information contact: Charles Mabbett 021 509 735

Available on www.privacy.org.nz:

  • An information paper on the amendment (which includes the text of the proposed amendment and information of the submission process)
  • Background information on the Credit Reporting Privacy Code.

 



* The $10 charge is for a typical chargeable request when the information is provided by post. The permissible charge is a little lower if the credit report is personally collected or sent by email and a little higher if delivered by courier.