How do I get more information about my loan?
When asking for information you don’t have to
- explain why you do not have the documents;
- explain why you want the documents; or
- get the consent of any coborrower(s)
What documents and information can I get?
If you are a borrower, mortgagor, or guarantor, under most consumer credit contracts the credit provider is required by law to give you the documents mentioned in the sample letter below.
Even if the credit provider appoints a debt collector or sells you debt, you still have the same rights to documents and information.
If you are requesting statements of amounts owing, the creditor is not obliged to provide further copies if it has already provided you with statements in the past 3 months.
Why ask for information?
When you have your loan documents and account statements you will be able to check what you signed, work out what you have been charged and paid, and get advice about your rights. You will also find out how much it will cost to pay out the loan.
For all consumer credit contracts entered into after 1 April 2011 (and for some contracts entered into before this) your credit provide must provide you with a copy of the suitability assessment it conducted before giving you the loan. This will help if you to establish whether the lender fulfilled its obligation to check that you could pay the loan without substantial hardship and that the loan met your objectives and requirements.
How do I ask for this information?
You should write to your creditor to ask for copies of loan documents and other information. You can use the following sample letter as a guide.
Before you write to your creditor, think about which documents you need. For example, you might need loan statements from the last 2 years, instead of statements covering the history of the account.
When will I get the information?
The creditor has to provide you with the information in the sample letter within time limits. If you have not got the information within 30 days, or if you need it sooner, get advice from Consumer Action about what time limits apply to your request.
If the creditor does not provide you with the information, get advice from Consumer Action about:
- making a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service or the Credit and Investments Ombudsman;
- taking action in a Court.
How much will getting information cost me?
A creditor can charge a fee for providing information and documents, provided the contract allows such a fee to be charged. Most contracts do say that a fee will be charged – this is often a dollar amount per page. If you are concerned about the cost, ask your credit provider if they will waive any fees.
What if the credit provider or debt collector is threatening legal action?
If legal action is taken against you by the creditor and you receive court papers – usually called a Form 4A Complaint or a Writ – get advice as soon as possible. In many cases, a complaint to Financial Ombudsman Service or the Credit and Investments Ombudsman will have the effect of stopping actual or threatened legal action. If you do nothing, a court order (judgment) will be entered against you.
What if I dispute the amounts that have been credited and debited?
If you dispute any amounts that have been credited or debited on your account, the creditor must provide reasonable written details of how that credit or debit arose. You need to request this information within 30 days of receiving the statement of account which shows the disputed credit or debit.
What if I don’t get the documents I’ve asked for?
If the bank fails to provide you with the documents that you are entitled to, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service or the Credit and Investments Ombudsman (FOS Circular Issue 22 – July 2015).
If you’d like to see a sample letter to a bank requesting information about your loan click: Requesting information about a loan.
Warning: This fact sheet is intended as a guide to the law and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice. This information applies only in Victoria and reflects the law as at 31 December 2015.
Image from GotCredit.
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