In an effort to combat a growing problem of misleading and fraudulent online advertisements in, the Credit Bureau Association (CBA) and Gumtree have recently joined forces to block and remove all advertisements that claim to clear individuals from “the blacklist” at South Africa’s credit bureaus.
The online classifieds website has implemented strict measures to ensure that consumers are protected. “We are committed to working with organisations such as the CBA to ensure that we are protecting our customers and keeping their best interests in mind,” says Claire Cobbledick, head of Marketing for Gumtree South Africa.
Gumtree has taken action by blocking keywords and advertisements pertaining to blacklists and illegal credit repair services. Furthermore, they urged consumers to report any such adverts that falsely claim to fix or “clear” a person’s credit report.
There is no such thing as a blacklist, says Jeannine Naudé-Viljoen, executive manager of the CBA. In fact, credit active consumers in South Africa have a credit profile with each of the registered credit bureaus. Your credit reports holds information on how well (or poorly) you pay your accounts and a third party cannot alter this information to “clear your name” or “remove a blacklisting”. Your profile is a true reflection of one’s behaviour – the most likely reason why consumers are often denied credit given the fact that more than 41% of South African consumers are high risk borrowers.
According to Naudé-Viljoen, there are a number of fake companies operating (especially online) that are guilty of misleading consumers and charging exorbitant costs for services that are never rendered.
Naudé-Viljoen stressed that there are numerous reputable debt repair companies, but that due caution is necessary. According to her, cooperation from online classifieds is vitally important. However, consumers should also take the necessary precautions to understand and exercise their rights.
Tips for consumers:
- Before engaging with any service provider, always ask for references and talk to other consumers who have used their services to verify their experience.
- Never deposit money into a bank account or give someone cash without making sure that the service is legitimate.
- When in doubt reach out for professional advice – contact the CBA or credit bureau directly to understand your rights.
- Never give your ID or bank card to someone to keep as security for a loan.
Compuscan is a full member of the Credit Bureau Association alongside other industry players. For more information on the CBA, visit their website.