Sunday, March 18, 2007

Free credit report? Really?

Interesting article called The true cost of a `free' credit report: $79.95 here is what they said along with my comments. is not the place for free credit reports. If you didn't know that, you may have paid for something that you did not want or that should have been free. Apparently the company that operates had its own sort of confusion. A federal court ordered the company to stop misleading consumers last August. Then last month, the Federal Trade Commission said the company was still not telling customers what it should, under the settlement order. I always wondered what this company was about. After all they pound us with their radio and TV ads and it seemed to good to be true. Last summer I went to their site and started to click through and I noticed that you had to put in a credit card, so I went slow and started reading. I ended up not putting in the credit card number because I could see there was going to be a charge for my free credit report.

In late February, the FTC said, which is a unit of Experian, the credit bureau, didn't adequately disclose that anyone who signed up for the "free" report at would also automatically be enrolled in a credit monitoring program that costs $79.95. An expensive free credit report as far as I am concerned. paid $950,000 to settle the original charges. Now, the company has to pay another $300,000 for violating that settlement order. Experian spokeswoman Heather Greer said there was a problem in one of the company's television ads that was fixed last year. Meanwhile, if you want a truly free copy of your credit report, the place to go does not have free in its web site address. It's annualcredit I tried this one and it actually is free. If you want to get your actual FICO score there is a charge for that but I felt I didn't need that.

Where to go for your possible refund: Anyone can use that site to get a free credit report once every 12 months from each of the three credit bureaus. Anyone who was unwittingly charged for credit monitoring by may be eligible for a refund. The settlement covers customers between Nov. 1, 2000 and Sept. 15, 2003. For more information, go to Or send a letter to: Consumerinfo, P.O. Box 19729, Irvine, CA 92623-9729.

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