Your Personal Credit Record
A bank loan that you applied for was turned down. The bank claimed that your personal credit record showed that you were a bad risk.
The first time you apply for credit or a loan a general credit record is started. This record consists of your home address and basic information on your job, salary and your paying habits.
Banks, credit unions, stores and potential employers sometimes hire credit reporting agencies to compile personal information on certain individuals’ financial and social activities. The information compiled assists these organizations in deciding whether to give a person credit, tenancy, insurance or employment. Precautions are taken to ensure personal file information is correct and it is the right of all Manitobans to know what information is in their personal file.
What’s In Your File
A company, store, credit union, bank or personal reporting agency may have a personal file on you. You may supply facts about yourself. You have the right to examine all information in your file once every six months or if you have been denied a benefit covered by The Personal Investigations Act.
The following steps should be followed when looking into your file at a personal reporting agency:
- Ask if the agency has a file on you.
- If there is a file, request a copy of it. (You will have to prove who you are and may have to pay a minimal charge.) It is an offence under The Personal Investigations Act to divulge the contents of a personal file to anyone who is not authorized to receive it. For more information on the type of information that can be revealed under The Personal Investigations Act, contact the Consumer Protection Office.
- If you find information in your personal file that is inaccurate, there are procedures to follow under The Personal Investigations Act for filing a protest.
- If the information cannot be verified, The Personal Investigations Act states that the information must be removed from your file. However, if the information can be verified and meets all the requirements within The Personal Investigations Act, the protest must be recorded in the personal file.
The action taken must be reported to you and to anyone who has been given the report within the previous 60 days.
- If you are not satisfied by the action taken you may appeal the matter to the Director of the Consumer Protection Office.
How to Protect Your Credit Record
Be aware of your responsibilities in credit or personal loan agreements, as a default in payment can have a detrimental effect on your personal credit file.
The Personal Investigations Act
In Manitoba you have certain rights regarding your personal file. These rights include:
- The right to be notified if a personal investigation is being conducted on you.
- The right to find out what information is in your file.
- The right to protest any information in the file that is incorrect or not allowed to be included, as provided for in The Personal Investigations Act.
- The Personal Investigations Act ensures that only factual and investigative information can be included in a personal file.
In most cases, when you apply for credit, tenancy, insurance or employment, your consent must be obtained in advance for a personal investigation to be done.
If you would like to know more about The Personal Investigations Act, contact:
Consumer Protection OfficeTelephone (Winnipeg and area): 204-945-3800
302-258 Portage Avenue
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C 0B6
Toll-free within Manitoba: 1-800-782-0067