Credit Report News, Tips & Advice
Website CertifiedPrivacy Protected
Credit Report News, Tips & Advice « Credit Reports > Credit Report News > FTC to Underline “Free” Credit Report through Consumer Response

FTC to Underline “Free” Credit Report through Consumer Response

By Faye Mergel
Published: Friday, October 16th, 2009

The Federal Trade Commission received many complaints from consumers who were misled by commercial endorsements for free credit reports. Complaints include being misdirected from FTC’s official credit reporting site through hyperlinks which lead people to private company websites. This prompted the Commission to reconsider its current rules on free consumer reporting, with an aim of minimizing deceptive marketing practices. Comments are being sought from consumers on how they would like present rules to be changed. Amendments will be in line with new credit card legislations which are set to take full effect next year.

FTC to Underline “Free” Credit Report through Consumer ResponseUnder Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), consumers have the right to one free credit report every 12 months from Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. Free reports can be requested online, through phone, or via mail. However, many consumers complained that they were misguided by commercials fronting as free consumer reporting services when they requested for their reports. In the FTC-backed website annualcreditreport.com, for instance, consumers are misdirected by hyperlinks from credit reporting agencies which promote their proprietary services. Present laws do not prohibit these agencies from doing so, but it could change with new public proposals.

FTC is seeking comment from general public on how they want current rules to be changed. Comments will be used on FTC’s deliberation of proposed amendments. As of now, FTC proposes that all commercial endorsement from its centralized free credit reporting site, annualcreditreport.com, should be removed so the public will not be misled into commercial deals. The Commission initially allowed such practices but complaints prompted them to change the rules. Changes are also part of new consumer-protection laws which initially took effect May this year. The law will be fully implemented next year as part of federal government’s crackdown on predatory practices by lenders.

Legislators aimed at preventing consumers from being navigated away from annualcreditreport.com by links to commercial websites. They propose that consumers should be given the warning if other websites mislead consumers: “This is not the free credit report provided for by federal law.” Industry analysts expect opposition from the three major credit reporting agencies since amendments would cut their profits back. They say CRAs are likely to send lobbyist so they will not lose another significant marketing venue.

However, FTC maintains that public comments will prevail. Consumers are encouraged to submit their comments online or send written proposals to the Federal Trade Commission’s mailing address. Experts encourage consumers in letting their stand be known so amendments will favor general welfare. Comments are due November 30 this year, after which, FTC can already start its deliberation on ending public confusion.

No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.