One of the first steps in helping people to restore their credit ratings is to conduct an investigation into the process the credit provider followed prior to listing the default. There is much a credit provider must comply with before they are legally able to enter a default against someone. Credit providers charging for production documents is becoming increasingly common.
It is very common for credit providers to make errors with the process and given an inconsistency is found the credit provider is required to remove the default listing. Finding fault in this process is the basis of credit repair.
In order to review the process a credit followed before they listed a default, it is necessary to review the associated documents. Items such as the original credit contract, statements, demand letters and file notes are critical as these documents often hold the key to have the offending credit listing removed.
As you can imagine, many credit providers are reluctant to produce these documents when requested to do so by their client or a third party such as a credit repair company. This is often because they do not want their processes reviewed and do not want to be found guilty of listing a default incorrectly, as is often the case.
In the case of consumer credit listings, a credit provider is required by law to produce these documents to either the client or an authorised third party when requested to do so however this does not mean they will not resist this request. Some credit providers will not go as far as to refuse but will instead just ignore the request in the hope the requesting party will give up, sadly this is often the outcome as to a consumer it can seem hopeless when after many calls, emails and letters they seem no further ahead and no one will help them.
Another way that some credit providers try to put people off is to charge money to produce documents. The law does state that a credit provider must produce documents when requested however it does allow a provision for charging money for this. The wording of the law in this area is ambiguous and talks about any fee charged not being excessive.
The keyword here is excessive, this can mean different things to different people and does give a credit provider a way to make things very difficult for someone trying to clear their name if they feel a negative credit listing has been entered against them wrongly.
Being a credit repair company ourselves, we are often confronted with credit providers trying this tactic to avoid producing documents. Recently one credit provider wanted to charge a fee of $550.00 for the retrieval and production documents. This was clearly excessive and a clear attempt to evade complying with their legal obligation.
It is easy for a credit provider to say that in their view their fee is not excessive and refuse to produce documents until this fee is paid. In many cases this adds insult to injury in many cases the credit provider is trying to charge money to produce evidence that may well show that they have not complied with the law and listed a default inappropriately. Imagine if you had to pay money to a company just to prove your innocents.
The Financial Ombudsman (FOS) has a view on executive charging for the production of supporting documentation and are quick to remind credit providers that they have a legal obligation to produce documents when requested and do not charge excessively to do so.
Clean Credit does not like to involve the Financial Ombudsman unless it is absolutely necessary however in some cases when our clients legal rights are being challenged their involvement is not only desirable but necessary.