Blacklisted? How can I clear my credit record?

The economic climate in South Africa is uncertain with consumers heavily affected by increasing expenses and an inordinate reliance on credit. The unfortunate result is one where businesses are forced to take judgement against the consumers in order to recover outstanding debt resulting in consumers being listed with credit bureaus, raising the question: How do I have my credit record cleared?

When a judgment is taken against a debtor his name is listed at credit bureaus, such as Trans Union, and the consumer no longer qualifies for any further credit until this credit listing is removed. But how is such a removal accomplished?

Firstly, a rescission of the judgment which resulted in the credit listing in the first place must be obtained from the courts. For such a rescission of judgment, the way and reason by which the judgment was obtained must be established as it may have an effect on the claims which have to be made in the affidavit accompanying an application for rescission.

Judgments can be obtained either by default, which means that the action was instituted against the debtor who failed to defend the matter, or by due process where the matter was unsuccessfully opposed by the debtor.

Many collection attorneys offer a service whereby they apply for a rescission of judgment that they have obtained against a debtor and where the debt has been settled. If the collection attorney does not offer this service, any attorney can be requested to bring an application for rescission of judgment in the court where the judgment was granted against the consumer.

An application for rescission can be brought on the grounds that the judgment debt was paid, or that the judgment was wrongfully obtained. An application of this type is accompanied by an affidavit deposed by the debtor stating his request and reasons for rescission. The application is served upon the judgment creditor or his representative and filed at court for consideration.

Once a judgment is rescinded, the rescission order must be sent to Trans Union together with the relevant forms (obtainable from the Trans Union website) in order for them to remove the judgment against the debtor’s name. This can usually take up to twenty working days. Once the debtor’s name is cleared, there is no longer a record of the debt against his name and he is free to apply for further credit.

Consumers should note that besides the obvious implications of being black listed and not being eligible for further credit or loans etc., it is also costly to have your credit record cleared and the removal of various judgments may turn out to be more expensive than the debt owed in the first place.

If you have been listed with a credit bureau, contact your lawyer for advice and assistance with having your credit record cleared.

March 18, 2013

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