The credit repair industry is in the initial stages of banding together to repair an admittedly "bad reputation", through the formation of a new credit repair industry body.
Branded the Credit Repair Institute of Australasia (CRIA) and equipped with a newly-minted Code of Practice, the association is promising to provide standards for a "much maligned" industry.
Spearheaded by Oasis Credit Repair and industry veteran Graham Reibelt, the nascent association includes other key players in the industry, such as Clean Credit (John Dickinson), Trimarchi & Associates (Joe Trimarchi) and We Fix Credit (Alicia Candido).
CRIA spokesperson Simon Reibelt said the credit industry had until now "deserved its bad reputation, with many operators overcharging for the service they provide or in many cases don't provide".
"There are even operators charging as much as $1,000 just to have a client complete a Veda Advantage complaint form. These practices have to stop," he said.
The founding members of the CRIA hope a binding Code of Practice will be a way for brokers and clients to differentiate between possible "dodgy operators" and ethical credit repair firms.
The Code of Practice includes pledges not to charge non-fundable or refundable fees for things the credit repair agency knows cannot be done, or just charging large upfront fees in general.
Reibelt said in forming the CRIA a number companies offering credit repair declined any interest in joining a body with a binding Code of Practice, particularly because of these fee measures.
CRIA foundation member John Dickinson said "the industry has needed something like this for a long time so the ethical and professional credit repair firms be be seen as just that".
Reibelt said he expects that 15 to 20 members will eventually join the CRIA. The CRIA does not expect to start marketing until 2012, having only launched early this week.