Query resolution process
Need to question your account balance, your loan instalment or your credit limit? Feel free to contact your credit provider directly via e-mail or telephonically, or visit your nearest branch.
As a consumer you may have a range of queries or complaints with your credit provider, insurance company, debt counsellor, credit bureau or payment distribution agent and it is important for you to understand the steps you should take to resolve your query. Your query or dispute may involve requesting or questioning the balance shown or your statement from a credit provider or information recorded on your credit profile.
Credit provider query or dispute
If you have any query, approach your credit provider directly for assistance. You can do this telephonically, via e-mail or on their web or mobi site, or go to their offices. For a dispute you should also always first contact the credit provider directly to try to resolve the matter.
Before you lodge a query or dispute, make sure that you have all the relevant information with you when you contact your credit provider. This information includes the following:
- Your ID number and account details
- Your latest statement
- Your credit agreement
- A copy of the credit card receipt or charge you are disputing Proof of information disputed, for example a payment receipt Account numbers
- Any reference numbers you have been given
Your query, dispute or complaint should be heard, treated fairly, and receive a quick and appropriate response. You should also be treated with the utmost dignity and respect in this process, and if not, you should not hesitate to escalate the matter.
You should always write down the date and time of contact and the names and telephone numbers of anybody you speak to, obtain the reference number, and keep copies of all correspondence, as you will need this if you want to escalate the matter to an ombudsman or regulator.
Credit Health Tips
If you are querying or disputing an account or credit agreement, make sure to keep up regular payments until the matter has been resolved. A dispute or query does not mean that your credit agreement is on hold, and you are legally obliged to keep making your payments as per your credit agreement.
Credit bureau queries
There are a number of registered credit bureaus in South Africa, and the contact details for the largest bureaus are given below. You can also find contact information for all registered credit bureaus on the National Credit Regulator’s website (www.ncr.org.za).
Query or dispute information
If you would like to query or dispute information on your credit report/profile, you should follow these steps:
- Obtain a copy of your latest credit report from any of the five above-mentioned credit bureaus.
- Contact the consumer care or helpdesk department of the credit bureau with your query or dispute.
- Include a copy of your ID as well as proof of residence to allow the credit bureau to verify and protect your identity.
- Provide a short description of the information you are disputing.
If you would like to dispute any of the following information, note that the credit bureau will require the following documentation or paperwork from you:
- Judgement rescinded – copy of rescission document
- Judgement paid in full – copy of letter from plaintiff or attorney, referencing the case number and confirming that the account is paid in full
- Administration order rescinded – copy of Section 74Q or Section 74U court order
- Debt counselling – clearance certificate or a court order confirming removal from debt review
Important things to note:
- Accounts are not automatically removed from the credit profile when they are paid in full. The balance will be set to 0, but the account and the payment profile information is retained for up to five years from the date of last payment/bureau update.
- Payments made during a particular month are submitted by the credit providers to the credit bureau at the end of that month. Updates are not immediate. You should lodge a dispute when the account information has not been updated for 60 days or more.
- In terms of the Removal of Adverse Information and Paid-up Judgements Regulations of 2014, once you have paid a judgement in full it will no longer reflect on your profile. In terms of legislation there are specific timeframes within which the information should be removed. Contact any of the credit bureaus to confirm whether your information is referred. You can also visit the NCR’s website for more information.
Insurance queries or disputes
If you have an insurance or assurance query or dispute, you should ensure that you have the following information on hand:
- The name of your insurer
- The claims procedure, which is usually in your policy document
- Any contact details of the insurer
- The start date of the policy
All your policies should be kept in a safe place so that you can reference them quickly when needed, to ensure that they are available when you want to make a claim, or so that your family can find the policy number and other important information in the event of your death or a disability. Please remember to check that your policies have not lapsed, for example in the event that the policy holder did not pay the premium. If you are not sure, please contact your credit provider or insurance company. Read your policy document very carefully, as it may answer any questions you have before you contact your insurer or assurer.
If you wish to make a claim, contact your insurer or assurer directly to find out what information may be required of you to process your claim.
If you are unhappy about the way in which your insurance queries, disputes, complaints or claims were handled, you can contact the relevant insurance ombudsman for further assistance.
If you have any queries or complaints with your debt counsellor, payment-distribution agent or alternative debt-resolution agent, first contact them directly to resolve the matter, or you can contact the National Credit Regulator on 0860 627 627 for guidance on how to proceed.
Always read your policy carefully to understand all the terms and conditions. If you do not make a premium payment (your insurance payment) for a month, you will not be covered for that month. Cover will normally only resume when all your premiums are up to date. Please ensure that you always keep your premiums up to date. Even if you are disputing a matter, you should still keep up regular payments until it has been resolved.
Credit life insurance
One of the products you might want to query is credit life insurance. This may cover you if you cannot meet the repayments on your credit card or loan because of unexpected events such as retrenchment, illness or injury. It might also pay out in the event of death or disability.
Many people are not even aware they have credit insurance because it is often included in their monthly instalment. Contact your credit provider directly and ask about any insurance products you have linked to your credit product, and to send you a copy of the policy. You can then contact that division directly or the company that offers you the cover for any insurance-related queries. Remember to read your policy to understand what exactly it covers (for example, whether it covers unemployment or disability) before you make your query.
It is important to note that the insurance cover is only valid over the duration of the credit agreement, meaning the cover ends when the credit agreement ends. Therefore, you will not be able to make a claim from it once your credit product or debt owed has been paid in full.
Query resolution process: FAQ
What is the difference between a query, a dispute and a complaint?
A query is a question or inquiry; for example, if you want to know what your current balance is and you ask your credit provider for it.
A dispute, on the other hand, is when you express a disagreement with something; for example, if you get your statement and a payment is not reflected and you have indeed made the payment, you can dispute this.
A complaint is an expression of displeasure, such as about poor service at a branch or money that has been incorrectly charged to your account. Depending on the size of the credit provider, it will have a different department to deal with each.
Can I query or dispute my credit report/profile?
Yes, you have the right to query or dispute any information on your credit report/profile. You can contact any credit bureau directly with your question, or lodge a dispute with them. Each credit bureau has its own process for disputes.
The credit bureau will investigate the dispute and should respond within 20 business days. If the information is found to be incorrect, it will be removed. It is recommended you contact all of the five largest credit bureaus to ensure that the information has been removed. If you are not happy with the resolution, you can contact the Credit Ombud.
What is the difference between insurance and assurance?
The word ‘assurance’ is used for life assurance policies, where the policy assures that you will have to be paid out at some point in the future, for example a death policy. ‘Insurance’ is where the paying out of the policy is uncertain, and will only happen in the event of a liability occurring, for example vehicle insurance will only pay if the car is stolen or damaged. In other words, an assurance policy pays out when something happens, and an insurance policy pays out if something happens.