Credit Report News, Tips & Advice
Website CertifiedPrivacy Protected
Credit Report News, Tips & Advice « Credit Reports > Credit Report News > Maine AG Supports Crack Down on Bogus Free Credit Report Ads

Maine AG Supports Crack Down on Bogus Free Credit Report Ads

By Faye Mergel
Published: Thursday, December 17th, 2009

Anytime a person turns on his TV set, he is likely to see an ad about a person who bemoans his financial crash. It could have been avoided if he checked his credit report for free with them, the ad suggests. However, many consumers found out that they are being billed monthly after signing up for a service they thought would provide them with a free credit report. Now that the calls are widespread, Maine’s Attorney General thinks it is about time that he also expresses his thoughts.

Maine AG Supports Crack Down on Bogus Free Credit Report AdsMaine Attorney General Janet Mills says those television ads are very clever and eye-catching, but they do not really give consumers what they promise to give: a credit report for no charge at all. Mills believes that such advertising is deceptive and violates the Unfair Trade Practices Act. It is because the ad claims it is giving something for free, when in fact, it charges consumers a monthly bill for as much as $20. Many consumers think the amount is small, but it is the way they have been tricked into it that angers them.
This week, Mills joined 40 other states across the country in calling out to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to stop such ads that create confusion among consumers. Mills, along with other attorney generals, suggest that those ads be banned unless they adequately disclose that they credit report they provide are tagged with a monthly bill. The bills are for the credit monitoring services that the company offers to subscribers.

Mills said there is a need to change the rule for those ads because they often confuse and mislead the public. The call for such change is headed by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. In her letter, she sharply criticized those TV and Web ads, saying FTC has not done enough in implementing changes that would provide better protection to consumers. She also said there is a need for FTC to ban automatic enrollment to those free credit report companies. Most of the time, consumers are not aware about their enrollment until they are charged with a monthly bill.

Madigan says annualcreditreport is the only site where consumers can get their credit report for free once a year. Those who unwittingly sign up for commercial sources are later on surprised for getting billed for something they did not ask for.

Finally, Mills proposed that websites advertising for a free credit report disclose that they are not the source backed by federal government. Mills also wants them to inform consumers how they can get their credit report for free from the government source.

No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.