03 Nov FTC Takes On FreeCreditReport.com
The FTC has taken on the folks behind freecreditreport.com, (notice I’m not linking) and those catchy, incredibly misleading commercials. You know, the slacker dude in the old car, nowhere job, or basement apartment who would be on the road to riches if only he’d checked his credit report. I know the commercials are misleading–for example, marrying someone with bad credit does NOT trash your credit–but the FTC is more concerned with the misleading nature of the web site and the service they are selling. That’s right, selling, not giving away–not free at all, as a matter of fact.
The FTC has taken the unusual step of producing their own spoof commercials to reduce the confusion between the “freecreditreport.com” site (for which they will send you a bill) and www.annualcreditreport.com, which is where you go to get the free credit report that the law requires credit reporting agencies to give you once a year. The FTC has also established a new web address to combat the confusion–www.freecreditreport.gov.
Here’s how it works. You go to the web site with “free” in the name, and they will give you a copy of your credit report, but only if you sign up for their monthly monitoring service at about $20 a month. Now, you can cancel that service, but there are a lot of us out here that just don’t remember to do that, and they don’t make it easy. Plus, apparently the information you get when you sign up for that free credit report isn’t always clear on the issue of having to pay later. Imagine that–you use the word “free” in your name and people don’t understand that you are going to bill them later.
It isn’t difficult to get your free credit report, and if you stagger your requests to different reporting agencies, you can monitor fairly easily, without paying for the service.
Written by South Carolina bankruptcy attorney Dana Wilkinson
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