Taking action against a credit repair company
There are easy options for seeking a refund or compensation from a credit repair company.
Credit repair companies may promise to ‘fix’, ‘repair’ or ‘wash away’ defaults and other listings on credit reports, or ‘improve’ your credit score.
However, many people have experienced problems with credit repair companies. If you are one of these people, and you are looking to seek a refund or other compensation, consider the following steps.
Step 1: Complain to the credit repair company
Try picking up the phone and raising your concerns directly with the credit repair company. If that does not work, put your concerns in writing.
You can find contact details for the complaints contact by searching AFCA’s database here: https://www.afca.org.au/make-a-complaint/findafinancialfirm
Sample Letter to a credit repair company
This sample letter to credit repair company can be used as a guide to raise your concerns about a credit repair company. You will need to rewrite the letter so that it reflects your situation.
When providing services, credit repair companies must:
- meet the general consumer law protections, such as not misleading you and providing services that are fit for purpose; and
- act efficiently, honestly, fairly.
If you have any difficulty putting your complaint in writing, don’t give up! If you are in Victoria, contact Consumer Action Law Centre for help.
Step 2: Make a free complaint to the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA)
AFCA has the power to investigate and make a decision which is binding on the credit repair company.
If the company does not agree to your demand, or doesn’t respond within 45 days, the next step is to make a complaint to AFCA here: https://www.afca.org.au/make-a-complaint
You can use the template letter as a basis, and it may be helpful to explain why you disagree with the company’s response to your letter (if any).
What if the company is not a member of AFCA?
From 1 July 2021, most credit repair companies must be a member of AFCA if they assist you with credit listings about credit products (such as a loan) for a fee.
If the company is not a member you can consider lodging a claim at the Victorian VCAT. For more information about making a claim in VCAT, see Consumer Action Law Centre’s factsheet Dispute Resolution: Consumer Disputes in VCAT.
Contact the Consumer Action Law Centre for further information if you are unsure about how to make a claim in VCAT.
You should also tell the regulator, ASIC, because the company may be breaching the law by not being a member of AFCA. You can contact ASIC here.
Step 4: Complain to the regulator
It is important to let the government agencies that police credit repair companies know if you think a business is acting unfairly.
Try making a complaint to ASIC and Consumer Affairs Victoria. These bodies will not necessarily take action to help you personally. However, they play an important role in enforcing the law so that all Australians are protected.
Warning: This advice is for information only and should not be relied upon as legal advice. This information applies only in Victoria, Australia and was updated on 5 July 2021.