Am I blacklisted? What can I do to fix this?
There is this general idea held by consumers that if you don’t pay your bills, you can become ‘blacklisted’. In reality there is actually no such thing as being blacklisted – what it usually means is that there are particular items on your Credit Report that are so bad that you’ll be declined for any more credit outright.
Here are some of the main types of bad items (‘blacklistings’) you could have on your credit report:
- Bounced/defaulted payments. Especially true if you’ve been consistently more than 90 days late on your payments, plus if you currently have unpaid bills.
- Legal judgements. Particularly if these are quite recent (say less than 2-3 years old) or if they are quite large (more than R5000-R10 000).
- Debt counselling. If you’re undergoing debt counselling, then it’s actually illegal for companies to lend more money to you.
There is also a misconception in terms of which companies can actually have you blacklisted – not all companies can have you listed at a credit bureau. A prime example is SABC and TV licenses: because a TV license is not an agreement you actually opted into, even if you don’t pay and get a court judgment against you, this will not be listed against your name at a credit bureau.
Bottom line: to know if you’re ‘blacklisted’ or not, the first step is to access your credit report to check. You can access your MoneyShop Credit Report for free by clicking here.
What can I do to fix my ‘blacklistings’?
Again, how to fix a blacklisting depends on the type of ‘blacklisting’. There are broadly two ways to have these items stop appearing on your credit report:
- Wait a while. Yes, time heals all wounds (even wounds to your credit report!).
- Defaults or bounced payments should be off of your profile (assuming you started paying those accounts again) within two years.
- Judgements will be off your profile after five years.
- Debt counselling will be off your profile once you exit debt counselling (which usually takes two to four years).
- Pay your debts and have the orders rescinded. Specifically with judgements and default notices, once you pay off the debt you can have the order rescinded, which means each credit bureau is legally obliged to remove these ‘blacklistings’ from your name. You can do this yourself, but there are also companies (like maxlaw.co.za) that will do this for you for a fee.