Correctional Services said that “matters are under control” at Johannesburg’s Sun City Prison on Wed.
LAST month Consumer Linewarned consumers about companies that promise to undo blacklisting and credit records at the blink of an eye.
We referred to adverts that read : Credit problems? No problem! We can erase your bad credit. 100% guaranteed; Create a new credit identity legally; We can remove bankruptcies, judgments, loans and bad loans from your credit file forever! and we can get you off the blacklist."
Caroline Buthelezi, education officer at the credit information ombuds (CIO) advises consumers to ignore these and other such adverts.
"Consumers with a tarnished credit record must do themselves a favour and save their money. Only time, a conscious effort and a disciplined debt repayment plan will improve your credit report," she says.
Buthelezi says the office of the CIO is an unbiased organisation that helps consumers and businesses to resolve disputes about negative credit bureau listings.
In addition, the CIO does not charge any money for services.
She says if you applied for credit and had been declined because of unjustified negative information, you can go to the CIO for assistance. Buthelezi adds that adverts that promise, for a fee, to clean up credit records were misleading.
"The truth is, there is nothing anyone can do that you cannot do yourself - often for free.
"The only time you need the assistance of an attorney is if you want to remove a court order," she says.
The CIO is committed to protecting consumers from being fooled by unrealistic promises, Buthelezi says.
"No one can legally remove accurate and timely negative information from a credit report."
She says consumers could ask for reinvestigation of inaccurate and incomplete information.
"Everything a credit repair organisation can do for you legally, you can do for yourself at little or at little or no cost.
"Everybody is affected by the credit crunch, so be wise and take extra care with your money," Buthelezi says.
Here is how to do it yourself:
l Obtain your credit report from the Credit Bureau. Without this you will not know what might be wrong, nor can the CIO intervene;
l Lodge a complaint with the Credit Bureau on information you are disputing on your report. Make sure you get a reference number. You have 20 working days to get credible evidence of the information on your credit report. At this stage the information in dispute MUST be removed from your record. (It might be returned later, if proven to be valid);
l If, after 20 working days, you are still disputing the record, you may lodge a complaint with the CIO call centre on 0861OMBUDS, 0861-662-837 or www.creditombud.org.za. Use the bureau's reference number. The mmbud will thoroughly investigate all aspects of the case and call for written records and proof;
l The ombud will rule. This can be instantaneous or prolonged, depending on the evidence;
l If the ombud rules against you as the credit receiver, the disputed information will be relisted. If he rules in your favour the information is expunged from your credit profile;
lShould all this still fail to satisfy you, you may then appeal to the National Credit Regulator;
lEven if you don't have a poor credit history, it is a good idea to conduct your own credit check-up, especially if you're planning a major purchase, such as a home or a car. Checking in advance on the accuracy of the information in your credit report could speed up the credit-granting process; and
lCredit bureaus charge about R20 for a credit report, but note that in terms of the National Credit Act, you are entitled to one free report a year.
As you can see, the CIO's office can assist for free when it comes to disputing incorrect and invalid information on your credit report at the credit bureaus.
Credit bureaux numbers: Experian: 861-10-5665; Transunion: 086-482-482; Kredit Inform: 011-777-2700; XDS: 0860-937-000; Compuscan: 0861-514-31.