The Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act regulates credit reporting agencies with respect to what may be included in a credit report and who can see it.
What is a credit report?
A credit report is a record about an individual that includes:
- Identifying information about the individual (name, address, employer, etc);
- Information about the financial obligations of the person (including name of the creditor, amount owed, details regarding payment history, etc.);
- Financial and legal information about bankruptcies, court judgments debts assigned to collection agencies, repossessions, etc.); and
- Requests for information about the individual from creditors and others.
The information in the report is updated regularly as it becomes available from creditors, applications for credit, etc.
How to access your credit report:
If you make your request in writing and send it by mail, the credit-reporting agencies will provide you with a free copy of your report by mail. (There can be a fee for online versions of your credit report). In order to verify your identity, you will need to provide copies of two pieces of I.D. with your request.
In BC, you can send your request to either or both of the two companies operating in the province. They are Equifax Canada and Trans Union.
Other useful information:
- Late or missed payment information about a debt can only be reported on your report for a maximum of 6 years from the date the first payment was missed or late;
- A first bankruptcy will be reported for 6 years from the date of the discharge from the bankruptcy;
- There is no statutory limit to reporting a second or more bankruptcy;
- You must provide consent before anyone can view or obtain your credit report;
- Consent must be given in a manner that provides proof consent was given.
- If a consumer feels there is an error on her or his report, they may give a 100 word statement to the reporting agency that relates to the information and the reporting agency must include the statement whenever the report is given out.
Consumer Protection BC can help with:
- Situations where information has been on your report for over 6 years;
- The unauthorized viewing of your credit report; and
- Claims that you were denied the opportunity to provided an explanation on your credit report.
Jurisdiction for credit reporting is shared with the Information and Privacy Commissioner’s Office. They can assist with issues such as:
- Not being allowed access to your own report;
- The accuracy and completeness of your report.
The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada also offers some information about understanding your credit report and score through their website.