Not all credit repair law firms are created equal
Not all credit repair law firms are created equal.
6 November 2013
One of the country's top credit repairers has stepped up to fill a gap in the credit repair industry with the establishment of a law firm.
Non-legal Director and well known consumer advocate for credit reporting, Graham Doessel says the establishment of MyCRA Lawyers has been motivated by an identified need to do more for consumers.
"Credit advocates play an essential part in credit reporting, but the only way to truly cover all bases for consumers is to be part of the legal process," Mr Doessel says.
He says that in reality, when disputing a client's credit listing, credit repairers can be met with varying responses and lengthy delays, and are not always taken seriously.
"We believe that a law firm can provide strength in dealing with a Credit Provider," he says.
"Being a law firm allows us to go to the next level on behalf of our clients and bring real quality to our work - without restriction."
The credit repair industry has grown in popularity in Australia with tight lending conditions post-GFC.
At last count 34 firms claim to be affiliated with credit repair or to repair bad credit.
With that popularity has come criticism from bodies such as Ombudsman Services, other legal centres and even ASIC about questionable practices within the industry. Many have called for the formal regulation of the credit repair industry.
Mr Doessel agrees more credit repairers should be held accountable, and that Regulation needs to follow.
"MyCRA Lawyers believe it's time to stand above the morass, be a leading firm and ensure that it acts to the highest standard."
He believes being a law firm with the duties and obligations this brings, will achieve this.
Legal Practitioner Director and Principal Solicitor, MaryAnn Armstrong (JD. MEd. BEd ) says MyCRA Lawyers are one of the few firms who can legally offer Judgment removal services legally and professionally within the credit repair industry.
"Preparing and submitting Court documents, preparing Affidavits - these are all actions which are legally required to be performed by a practising legal firm - and I would argue that any credit repair firm which is claiming to handle any Court matters such as Judgments and Writs should hold a practitioner's certificate," Ms Armstrong says.
She also argues that credit repair is a grey area when it comes to the law -and those in the credit repair industry who are giving the impression of performing a legal service, could be doing so illegally.
"The law states that any firm which acts on behalf of a consumer in legal matters is deemed to be performing a legal service, and must hold a practising certificate."
"Throwing around phrases such as 'cheaper than a lawyer,' 'check if your debt is legal' or 'we provide legal removal services' could be dangerous," Ms Armstrong says.
Whether or not Australia's credit repairers would be required to cease operation in the future could come down to the perception of whether or not these firms were deemed to be crossing the line into a legal service.
"It could come to light that many credit repair firms are currently operating as well-intentioned law breakers," she says.
Mr Doessel says both he and Ms Armstrong are keen to continue to speak out for consumers in matters of credit reporting accuracy.
"With Australia's new credit laws coming to fruition in March 2014, it will be incredibly important to be a voice for consumers in the credit reporting arena," Mr Doessel says.
He says MyCRA Law's pricing model remains at a fraction of the cost of many other legal services, but it is not cheap.
"Our clients are those people who are experiencing credit rating errors, omissions and inconsistencies, which are holding them back from obtaining major credit. We want our services to remain accessible, but we despise the predatory tactics from credit repair firms who target people who are down on their luck - so cheap and nasty is not for us," he says.