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The End Of Free Credit Report Ads

By Faye Mergel
Published: Thursday, April 29th, 2010

MAUR2-00053671-001A new law that has come into place will protect users from the surprise charges they get for their “free” credit report. For many customers this will prove beneficial, for Mafalda Signore, its too late. Mafalda visited a website that offered her a free credit report, and ended up with a recurring charge of 29.95$ billed to her credit card. The 80 year old Cape Coral resident went on record saying that she is pretty sharp; but didn’t catch the fact that she had been unintentionally signed up for an identity check service. Mafalda is not the only one in such a predicament, innumerable other complaints of the same nature have been registered nationwide.

This forced the Federal Trade Commission to pass a regulation that post April any website that offers free credit reports is mandated to display the following message on the top of the page as a disclaimer: “THIS NOTICE IS REQUIRED BY LAW. Read more at FTC.GOV. You have the right to a free credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com or 877-322-8228, the ONLY authorized source under federal law”. Come September and this regulation will be mandatory for TV and radio advertisements too.

The chairman of Credit.com, Adam Levin believes that this step will warn customers and stop them from accidentally signing up for premium services. He also went on to say that his company doesn’t offer a free credit report, but provides them with a “free report card” which grades their credit history. Levin thinks of the “free report card” as an education tool and said that it is not bundled up with any membership program. Levin goes on to say that he believes that the new FTC regulation will lead to the demise of the “free credit report” pitch that many companies have been using for ages now to draw in customers.

Levin adds, “You might see free trials or a free credit report in exchange for (enrolling in) a monitoring or resolution program,” The director of Policy and Advocacy for Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, based in San Diego is not fond of the credit monitoring services which come with a monthly charge. Stephens said, “For the typical consumer, they’re a waste of money, if you want extra protection, one thing you can do is place fraud alerts on your credit, he said. This notifies creditors they should take extra steps to verify your identity.”

If you freeze your credit accounts with credit bureaus like TransUnion, Experian and Equifax, no company will issue you new credit. This step should be avoided if you are looking to make a big purchase, or applying for a new job.

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