Help is on hand for people who have incorrect information registered about them at credit bureaus for outstanding debt, and are unable to buy things on credit or get a loan as a result.
The Credit Ombud assists consumers with credit information disputes.
"For example, when consumers have been incorrectly listed at a credit bureau or concerning non-bank credit agreements, such as a garnishee order (when money is taken directly off your salary before you are paid)," says Kabelo Teme, the Credit Ombud's Communications Liaison Officer.
She explains that if someone has a complaint about a credit provider, or incorrect information reflects on their credit profile at a credit bureau, they must first try to resolve the matter with the credit provider or credit bureau directly.
Credit bureaus have 20 business days to investigate the complaint.
"If they have not provided written feedback that they have credible information and can't amend the credit profile, consumers can complain with the Credit Ombud.
"It's important that consumers keep a record of the names of the people they spoke to, and the reference number provided to them by the credit bureau," says Teme.
The Credit Ombud can't accept a complaint if the reference number is older than six months.
"In this case, the consumer has to start the process with the credit bureau from the beginning," Teme explains.
Lodge a complaint
Everyone is entitled to a free credit profile from a credit bureau every 12 months.
"Consumers must check their credit profile to see if all information is correct. If there are any errors, the consumer must contact the credit bureau to fix them," says Teme.
Consumers can complain with the Credit Ombud by calling 0861 662 837 or 011 781 6431, sending an SMS to 44786, or emailing email@example.com.
Once the complaint has been received, the Credit Ombud may ask for more information or documents. It will then contact the credit provider or bureau and allow them to respond. When the investigation is complete, all parties are notified of the outcome.
"The consumer also does not have to accept the Credit Ombud's outcome. If they are still not happy, they can contact the National Credit Regulator, National Consumer Tribunal, or a lawyer," says Teme.
The major credit bureaus are: