Memo to the FTC: freecreditreport.com is Getting Major Complaints
Posted on Nov 15, 2006 by Tom Fragala
I recently reported how the annualcreditreport.com home page is very misleading, causing visitors to erroneously click on the logos of the three credit bureaus. This leads you away from the only site authorized to provide the free annual credit report we are entitled to by law. Once you visit these other sites, you see offers for "free" credit reports that are not what you intended or expected. If you follow through, you give them your credit card and sign up for a "free" service that will result in credit card charges.
In a similar vein, Experian's freecreditreport.com is another terribly misleading site. It maddeningly states "GET YOUR FREE CREDIT SCORE AND A WHOLE LOT MORE!" Beware: freecreditreport.com does NOT offer the real free credit report via the 2003 federal law. It's misleading a lot of people and they are up in arms.
Look at this web page hosted by McAfee SiteAdvisor. I know the credit reporting agencies are the Halliburton of the financial services industry; everyone bashes them with impunity. I am not one of the typical hysterical people that attacks them to get pats on the back. But it is clear consumers are getting ripped off here and something needs to be done (again). Why "again"? Have you forgotton already? The FTC already cracked down on them. They are thumbing their noses at the FTC with the same loud offers of "free" credit reports, and then they put their FTC mandated disclaimer in tiny blue type on a blue background. C'mon, nobody likes being a whipping boy, but play fair folks.
If you got screwed or misled by this or any other credit report offer, please complain to the FTC. This is one of those cases where doing something does have an impact. The FTC does review complaints and acts if they get enough of them.
Update: More details on how to contact the FTC to file a complaint:
The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish (bilingual counselors are available to take complaints), or to get free information on any of 150 consumer topics, call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357, or use the complaint form at http://www.ftc.gov.