Your Rights Explained
The Privacy Act 1993 is concerned with 'personal information' defined in the Act as: " information about an identifiable individual; and includes information relating to a death that is maintained by the Registrar-General pursuant to the Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Act 1995 , or any former Act."
In New Zealand the personal information we use is in accordance with the requirements of the Privacy Act 1993 (the Act).
However, the personal information we use to operate our Consumer Credit Reporting Business is in accordance with not only the requirements of the Privacy Act 1993 but also with a code of regulations made pursuant to the Act, the Credit Reporting Privacy Code (the Code).
We believe in and respect this important legislation and Code, and our own business activities are strictly governed by adherence to the Act and in relation to consumer credit reporting - the Code.
General Overview of Your Rights
As a New Zealander, you have rights under the Act and the Code in relation to the access, correction and use of your personal credit information.
The Act promotes and protects consumer privacy. It has established privacy principles in relation to:
- The collection, use and disclosure by public and private sector agencies, of information relating to consumers; and
- The access by each consumer to, and correction of, information relating to them which is held by public and private agencies.
The Act establishes 12 privacy principles:
- Principles 1, 2, 3, and 4 relate to the collection of personal information
- Principles 5 and 9 relate to the storage of personal information
- Principles 6 and 7 relate to the access to and correction of personal information
- Principles 8 and 10 relate to the use of personal information
- Principle 11 relates to the disclosure of personal information
- Principle 12 relates to the use of unique identifiers.
The Code has 12 rules which relate to each of the principles. It applies to and directly regulates credit reporting.
The services which we provide that are not credit reporting but which relate to personal information are in compliance with the Act. Such services include those provided by Secure Sentinel, Equifax Australasia Workforce Solutions Pty Limited and Equifax New Zealand Information Services and Solutions Limited.
Equifax collects personal information directly from you when you sign up for our Secure Sentinel service which offers solutions for identity theft and fraud prevention. The personal information we collect can include:
- Date of Birth
- Driver's Licence
- Latest Address
- Previous Addresses
- Credit Card details
- Email address
- Home phone number
- Mobile phone number
- Fax number
- Information about your mobile phone(s), financial cards and passport.
In the case of Secure Sentinel, we may disclose your personal information to:
- your third party providers, such as your financial institutions, mobile phone provider.
- research organisations
- government, law enforcement or statutory bodies
- with the Secure Sentinel corporate partner through whom you obtained this service.
- to third parties acting on our behalf.
For further information about Secure Sentinel go to www.securesentinel.co.nz .
You can contact Secure Sentinel by telephone on 0800 449 777, by email at [email protected] or by mail at:
Secure Sentinel (NZ) Limited
PO Box 2993
Equifax Australasia Workforce Solutions Pty Limited
In addition we may collect your personal information as part of the employment verification service provided by Equifax Australasia Workforce Solutions Pty Limited (Employment Verification). This personal information is then disclosed to Employment Verification in Australia. Services supplied in New Zealand comply with relevant New Zealand laws. For further information about Employment Verification collection, use and disclosure of your personal information go to www.equifax.com.au/privacy
Equifax New Zealand Marketing Services Limited
Equifax collects personal information from publicly available sources such as Land Information New Zealand, the Companies Office and the White Pages Directory. Equifax collects personal information to provide its clients with direct marketing services and also to businesses that want to initiate contact with prospects in the Equifax database.
Your personal information is used for marketing purposes.
In limited circumstances Equifax may disclose your personal information including name, address and telephone numbers, to organisations in Australia, South Africa, Singapore, United States of America, Philippines and other countries where our clients have their head offices located.
If you do not wish to receive direct marketing via Equifax, you may contact Equifax via email at [email protected] or by mail at:
Equifax New Zealand Marketing Services Limited
PO Box 912012
Victoria Street West
or by calling 0800 698 332 and request to be suppressed from our database.
Credit information is a kind of personal information which is defined in the Code .The Code provides specific rights in relation to credit information held by Equifax as a Credit Reporter.
You can find the complete version of the Code at www.privacy.org.nz and the Privacy Act 1993 at www.legislation.govt.nz
You have certain rights with regard to personal credit information we hold about you. In particular you can:
- Access your own personal credit information
- Request incorrect information be amended or a statement of correction be added to your credit file
- Expect the information to be safely stored, and used by or disclosed only in accordance with the Code.
Your rights are summarised below.
A copy of the summary of rights taken from schedule 4 of the Code is also available on our website www.mycreditfile.co.nz.
What kind of information does a Credit File contain?
If you do not use credit no information is likely to exist about your credit history.
If you do use credit, your credit file is likely to contain the following details:
- Last reported and previous addresses
- Date of birth
- Company directorships (if any)
- Who has made credit enquiries and when (if any)
- Payment defaults or collection agency records of defaults (if any)
- District and High Court judgments (if reported by the Mercantile Gazette)
- Insolvency information (if any)
- Information about any credit accounts you have and your repayment history for those accounts
- It may also contain details of: gender, employer, and occupation but these fields are not routinely disclosed.
The Code defines credit accounts to mean:
The following information reported by a credit provider about a credit account held by an individual:
(i) type of credit account;
(ii) amount of credit extended;
(iii) capacity of individual (such as account holder, joint account holder or guarantor);
(iv) status of account as open or closed and:
(A) date account was opened; and
(B) if account closed, date account was closed;
(v) details of the credit provider;
(vi) credit provider's client reference number; and
(vii) repayment history information in relation to the account
Where does this information come from?
Equifax collects credit information directly from the consumer concerned, from our subscribers (who are banks, finance houses and other credit providers), or from public sources.
Our subscribers may supply your name, addresses, and date of birth, gender, employer, occupation and the type of account you applied to them for. Gender, employer, and occupation are not routinely reported back to subscribers and may only be reported back to a subscriber to mirror this information where it has been provided to us by that subscriber. Details may also be provided relating to the conduct of your account.
We may also use information from publicly available publications such as the Mercantile Gazette and public register databases (where the Code permits this).
What information do we not hold?
We do not hold any non-business-related details about you including your:
- Political, social, religious or ethical opinions, beliefs or affiliations
- Criminal record, other than fraud related transactions
- Medical history
- Colour, race ethnic or national origins
- Sexual orientation or sexual life.
How many years is information held on your Credit File?
All adverse information (i.e. collection data, default data and judgment records) and previous enquiry information remains on your credit file for five years. Insolvency information remains on your credit file for four years from the date of discharge. Multiple insolvencies may be retained indefinitely.
How does Equifax use and store your information?
We may use your credit information for the following purposes:
- As permitted by the Code;
- The administration and updating of the Credit Reporting database and our records.
We may disclose information on your credit file to subscribers to Consumer Credit Reporting Services from Equifax. Most credit checks can only take place with your authorisation. However, your authorisation may not be required in all cases, such as access by certain public sector agencies and those involved in court proceedings.
Credit information is stored electronically with security measures in place. We employ sophisticated electronic security systems to record the details of authorised subscribers that view your credit information.
Accessing your Credit File
You are entitled to access any credit information that we hold about you.
If you want the information quickly (within five working days) you may be required to pay a reasonable charge, but otherwise no charge may be made.
We offer a number of services for you to easily access your personal credit file so that you can understand and manage the credit information that is reported about you:
My Credit File - for the free of charge delivery option we will process and dispatch your personal credit file within twenty working days.
My Credit File Express - for $51.95 we will process and dispatch your personal credit file within one working day.
My Credit Alert - for $59.95 per year we will notify you of specific changes to your personal credit file and dispatch your personal credit file within one working day.
Please visit www.mycreditfile.co.nz for any of these services.
Please note that you may only request a copy of your own credit file.
If you would like to know more about these services or how to order these services please visit www.mycreditfile.co.nz to obtain a Request For Access To Your Personal Credit File form.
Amending your Credit File
We must take reasonable steps to ensure the accuracy of credit information we hold about you and must act promptly to correct any errors we become aware of. This will usually involve checking the information you provide with the source, such as a subscriber (or creditor) who submitted a default.
If you think there are inaccuracies in your credit file there are steps you can take to request that we correct them or have them investigated. These steps are outlined in the My Credit File Explained brochure, which will be provided to you when you order your personal credit file.
We must, as soon as is reasonably practicable, decide whether to make the correction you have requested or to confirm the accuracy of the information. If we need longer than 20 working days to make a decision we must notify you of the extension and the reason for it. If the requested correction is not made, we must tell you the reason and you may ask to have a statement of the correction sought but not made. This statement will be included in your credit file.
If a correction is made or a correction statement added, we will send an amended report to any Equifax subscriber recorded as having accessed your credit file within the last 30 days.
We note that a credit file describes your credit history, not simply your current debts. Information about a bankruptcy that has been discharged or a default that has subsequently been paid in full can continue to be reported on your credit file, provided it is updated to reflect the later developments, as it remains an accurate statement of those historical events.
Equifax has a complaints procedure in place that we must follow if you believe we have breached the Code. The objective of our complaints procedure is to facilitate the fair, simple, speedy and efficient resolution of complaints.
Under our complaints procedure:
We will acknowledge your complaint in writing within 5 working days of receipt, unless it has been resolved to your satisfaction within that period.
Within 10 working days of acknowledging your complaint we will continue to investigate your request and advise you if it is justified, or if additional time is required to investigate and the reasons why.
Upon completion of our investigation we will advise you of our decision, the reasons for it and any action we propose to take.
If you have utilised our complaints procedure and are not satisfied with our resolution you may wish to appeal. If you have any further information that we should consider, then please forward the details with your appeal to:
Email address: [email protected]
Equifax New Zealand Information Services and Solutions Limitied
Private Bag 92156
Auckland Mail Centre
If your complaint is not resolved to your satisfaction, you may choose to complain to the Privacy Commissioner who has statutory powers to investigate the matter. Some cases that cannot be settled can be taken to the Human Rights Review Tribunal.
How do I find out more about information held on my Credit File?
If you have any queries about any information on your credit file, please contact the Public Access Team on:
Free phone line: 0800 692 733
Email address: [email protected]
Web address: www.mycreditfile.co.nz
Information Services & Solutions (NZ)
Private Bag 92156
Find out more at www.mycreditfile.co.nz.