Question: I want to get a loan to purchase a house. However, about three years ago, I had a problem with a car loan. I have since repaid the debt but it took some time. I now find that my name is in the Irish Credit Bureau. Can I get my name off as it is causing problems for me securing my loan?
Answer: Firstly, in the current economic climate regretfully, many people find that their names have been or will be reported by Lendor(s) to the Credit Bureau and, once it is recorded, it remains on the data base with them for five years once the account has been completed. In other words, in your case, once the car loan was repaid by you, the five years term starts to “tick” from that time that it was repaid. Equally, where circumstances are such that a loan is never repaid, so it is written off so to speak, the retention period commences from that date that it is written off.
Certainly there are circumstances where this can be hard on an individual Debtor but nonetheless, it is legal, because when you initially acquired your loan, you would have signed a Consent Form which is part of the administration process of the loan, acknowledging that the history of your repayments on the loan could be kept and would form part of your credit history and ratings.
The fact that you were in default on the repayments, gave rise to the involvements of the Credit Bureau. You should note that the Credit Bureau only collects information on Debtors for a data base and simply passes this information onto Lendors when requested who in turn make their own credit assessments.
In your case, you could ask the Bureau to show you your record and you are entitled to this information. There is a €6 fee payable for access to the data on you. You can apply online for this information.
You do have the right to request the Bureau to have information on the data base on you cancelled. However, with this process, the Credit Bureau cannot change your Credit Report, unless the Financial Institution you dealt with requests that they do so. There is a process in addition where you could ask for an internal review, and an Appeals process, if you are dissatisfied with the result.
If for instance, there were exceptional circumstances in the first place for you which resulted in the defaults in the repayments on the car loan for awhile for the debt, that is not repaid, this can be outlined to the Bureau who in turn can deal with the original Financial Institution. You could layout carefully the facts of your case and explain why you believe your name should be removed and the circumstances that lead to the defaults and the repayments initially. The Financial Institution could then make a decision that they would expunge/cancel the information on you on the data base. However, this is only if the Financial Institution agree to do so, they are not obliged by Law to do.
If that does not work for you, you can ask the Financial Services Ombudsman to make a Ruling in this matter.