This Is Why You Don't Use FreeCreditReport.com

Jesus from South Texas signed up for credit monitoring at the notoriously scammy FreeCreditReport.com. He never received the confirmation email and wasn’t able to access his account, so he never used it, but forgot to call to cancel it. After three months he realized he was being charged $15 a month as per their terms of service, so he went to their site to retrieve his login credentials and was told the account didn’t exist. After that, it took him 4 calls to get the account canceled, and they would only refund him for one month of service. One of their CSRs tried to scare Jesus into keeping the account open because there had been some “suspicious activity” in his credit history that he’d be wise to monitor. Then they told him there is no phone number or email for their “customer satisfaction department”—it can only be reached through snail mail.

So that’s the summary. Here’s the full story in Jesus’ own words:

Hello Consumerist…
 
I found myself swayed by the curiosity of knowing my credit score and I chose to go to the very adamantly advertised freecreditreport.com. Once I was at their website I found out that the free credit report was not really free to begin with, since you had to provide your credit card information and sign for a monthly plan of “free” credit reports and credit change notices. Since I was already there I said, “What the Hell?… Lets do it anyways!”. I completed the sign up process and the website announced that I could access my credit reports once I received a confirmation e-mail which I never received, hence I could never access my credit reports.
 
I was fully aware that I could cancel the service at any time, but I totally forgot about this because my workload augmented and three months later, when i had a chance to look i noticed that my credit card statement had several more charges (14.95) from freecreditreport.com that reminded me of the “missing confirmation email” and my “never checked” credit report. I tried to sign in on their website, but the password and username where not valid. I expected that since i had never confirmed my account by clicking on the link provided in these kind of emails, then I thought well maybe my username and password where indeed wrong and I went to their forgot your password section and they ask for your full name and social security no., so i thought well this might get me somewhere… I entered my info and the screen said record does not exist.
This is where I tried to cance it… and that is when the s*%& hit the fan.
 
I tried cancelling the account 4 times and the call either got dropped or i was on hold for ages. I was not expecting anything outrageous from them… I only wanted a full refund for a service that i was charged for and not even used. The people on the other side of the phone were condesending to say the least. They treated me like a child that is asking to play with mommy’s diamond necklace. They gave me phony reasons on why I should keep their service, (even though i could not access it) they told me things like: “are you sure you want to cancel because according to our records there has been suspicious activity in your credit history” as if some dark figure was using my social security no. to conquer the world.
 
I finally got them to cancel my account, but the lady hung up on me without talking about a refund of any sort, so I called back and explained the situation to a guy named “Guy” (corporate no. 35897) and he said that a refund was out of the question since they had monitored my scores daily and the service was in fact provided. I politely disagreed and explained for the 6th time that i had not even accessed my profile once. He raised his voice and repeated that a refund was out of the question, as if the louder voice was going to make me understand their logic resolution “Let us Screw this guy”. He said that the only ones that could offer me a full refund was their customer satisfaction department, so I asked to be transferred to that department and he said that could not be done. I asked to ask to a supervisor and he defiantly said “why do you want to talk to one?, he is going to tell you the same thing i am”. I was pretty mad, but i kept my cool and asked the number to this department and their e-mail and he said that they did not have one and that the only way to get a hold of them was through a letter and I said “Come on man!!! Y’all have a website, but not email addresses. He agreed to give me a refund for the last month and hung up and forgot to tell me the address to the Customer Satisfaction Dept… I don’t want to call them again and go through that crap again.

 
Can you advise me on this matter?
 
Jesus [redacted] from South Texas.

Remember, if you want to pull your credit reports, use AnnualCreditReport.com—that’s the only “free” site where you can get one credit report per agency per year (three per year total).
 
As for Jesus, we suggest you dispute the charges with your credit card company. You should also write a concise letter to their Customer Care department—the address is on the Contact Us page on their website—and ask them to provide proof that the account was functional during the period when they were billing you for their services, since you were never able to confirm your membership and gain access to the account.

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Comments

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  1. ethereal_pete says:

    You’d think the son of man wouldn’t need a credit monitoring service.

  2. ironchef says:

    one advice about Annual Credit Report.com…

    don’t request all 3 credit reports at once. Do it on a rotating basis every 4 months, each time using a different agency. By staggering them, you get a good idea where you stand 3 times a year for free.

    That way you can monitor your credit more frequently throughout the year, instead of locking yourself out to once a year checks.

    Sorry for poor Jesus.
    Those freecreditreport.com people are sleezedouchebags.

  3. Technick says:

    The folks over at freecreditreport.com are the bottom of the barrel. I had a run in with them a couple of years back. Like you, I was baited with the free month of service except in my case I canceled online a few days before my month was up and their website experienced a “failure” after I submitted my cancellation notice that nobody got.

    The following month my card was charged 80 something dollars for the year of credit monitoring and access. I was unable to get a refund from the service reps so I ended up disputing it with the bank and got my money back that way.

    Good luck dealing with these idiots.

  4. Buran says:

    I was using a legit monitoring service that I cancelled because my bank started offering a better deal for less. Those guys too also claimed there was suspicious activity in the report.

    I told him “you’re probably seeing the new card I opened, and in any case I can see it on the service I just switched to.” He still argued with me.

    Sad. At least I did get it cancelled.

  5. VulcanMike says:

    It would be nice if Experian handed FreeCreditReport over to AnnualCreditReport. They domain name for our FACT Act credit reports looks scammy enough already… I understand that FCR was registered way before the FACT Act and ACR, but if you were searching for your federally-mandated free credit report, which domain would you as a consumer choose?

    Furthermore, FCR makes no secret of its attempt to compete directly with the FACT Act mandated site. “All free credit reports are not created equal”? And a disclaimer on the least eye-drawing part of the page in light blue text on a blue background? This site is a few inches of legitimacy away from herbal pill ads and phishing scams.

  6. SonicMan says:

    I use them, But not for reports. I use them for the monitoring. It was only $12 a month.

    I like to know who is looking at my credit report. I also like knowing what new accounts are open.

    But I have to say, getting there service for credit reports would be a rip off. Since you can get them free elsewhere.

  7. What … those herbal supplements don’t work, and I didn’t actually meet the prince of Nigeria when I wasn’t in London last year?!

    **runs off to see if he can do a charge back on a cashers check**

  8. ct_price says:

    Do you know why FreeCreditReport.com offers free credit reports? It is so that you update your information so they as data brokers can sell it to other people. They offer free credit reports so that they can maintain higher quality data. It is the cheapest, easiest way to get you to prove you are who you are, access the site, and get something in exchange for highly valuable updated information on you as a consumer. Don’t be fooled peeps – when they ask for e-mail address, that information is appended to the record they keep on you and sold off to marketing companies. Google e-mail appends if you want more info on this practice. Sort of like the pack of Skittles you get in college for signing up for a Discover card. Or that grocery store loyalty card you carry…capturing data on you is the reason they do it – not to give you $.39 off a can of corn.

  9. ? graffiksguru says:

    @ironchef: Beat me to it, I’ve been doing that for a while, so you get 3 a year for free!

  10. toddiot says:

    …Jesus lives?

    Seriously though, it’s not even April Fool’s yet. Do people ACTUALLY name their kid Jesus?!

  11. millcitymodern says:

    @toddiot: this is a very common name, particularly in Hispanic communities. Pronounced Hay-Soos.

  12. howie_in_az says:

    @ct_price: I take it I’m not the only person whose grocery store VIP cards read “*NEW CUSTOMER” ? :)

    I used FreeCreditReport a few years ago and they offered no help in disputing an item. Experian et al said I’d have to buy their report to dispute the item, which was hilarious. FCR also had the nasty habit of not letting me speak to a supervisor — the following conversation actually look please, much to the chagrin of some coworkers:

    “I would like to speak to a supervisor about an issue on my report, please.”
    “Is there anything I can help you with?”
    “Yes, you can put me in touch with a supervisor.”
    “Besides that?”
    “Besides putting me in touch with a supervisor? Yes, you can go get a supervisor for me to talk to.”
    “What’s a supervisor going to tell you that I can’t tell you?”
    “… supervisor-y things.”
    “Such as?”
    “We won’t know until I get to talk to one now will we?”

  13. Anonymous says:

    He should have seen it coming at him like an atom bomb.

  14. sibertater says:

    Yeah, I really hate them. Seriously, I just wanted to pull and buy my credit report and they have some system where you have to opt out of paying the monthly charge by actually calling them on the phone. There’s no way to just opt out.

    I just flew through “EULA” or whatever they call it on there and of course missed that. So They got lots of money from me for a while. Bastards.

  15. sibertater says:

    @millcitymodern: Are you kidding me with this? You thought he was serious? Get off the internet.

  16. amed01 says:

    I never knew Jesus to need credit cards. When you can turn water into wine, why would you want a credit card?!

  17. chloelikedolivia says:

    Could you ask your credit-card company to do a chargeback?

  18. Oface says:

    @howie_in_az: Awesome. I laughed so hard my dogs came running in from outside to see what the hell was going on.

  19. redindian says:

    he ‘forgot to cancel’ – and why is that the companys fault?

  20. Oface says:

    @redindian: His point is that it was it was damn near impossible to cancel.

    Oh wait….i forgot. Blame the person who posted.

    *shakes fist* Damn you Jesus!!!

  21. Clsmooth says:

    I just signed up for the 7 day free trial a couple weeks ago.

    I was able to dispute a job listing and a false address with them which they sent me a paper in the mail about a week later that had taken both off my credit report.

    The only shitty thing was that you couldn’t cancel online and had to call in and talk to someone – so I did on the 6th day – no long wait times got right through and after someone asked me 5 or 6 questions about how great it was to have them he canceled the membership for me.

    Advice to Jesus is to read what your getting into and not to forget to cancel things. Even if you never got a confirmation email it states right online that you will be charged after the trial period if you don’t cancel when you sign up.

  22. nursetim says:

    He should of started talking like Jesus from The Big Lebowski.

  23. I hate these services that make it impossible to cancel. Granted, the OP should have stuck a post it on his desk reminding him to cancel, but in my experience many companies realize how not great their canceling protocol and will go ahead and refund a month or two of (somewhat) unfair charges.

  24. Gawg says:

    I have tried Freecreditreport but didn’t like the service so I tried MyFico. MyFico has a one month free trial with an annual fee after the month is over. As the end of my free month got close I started getting emails telling me that my credit card would be charged if I didn’t close the account. Not one email about this, but three emails spread over the last free week. I love their service. If the balance on one of my accounts changes during the month I am notified of the exact amount of the change. Oh, and your credit score is updated and tracked monthly and always available.

  25. goodcow says:

    I dunno… I signed up for FCP just to get my score (747) and called back later that day to cancel. At first the rep was trying to tell me I couldn’t cancel until the last day of the free trial (gee, I wonder why… so I would forget then?), but I wasn’t having any of that, and I got the account canceled.

    8 minute phone call, cancellation E-Mail… not too bad.

  26. landsnark says:

    @toddiot: Um, yes they do, numbnuts, it’s a pretty common Hispanic name. I hope you were speaking from ignorance instead of racism.

  27. TexasScout says:

    Tried to jump through all the hoops that they wanted and all the “security” questions were wrong. All my employment dates were wrong, or not given. I gave up.

  28. RobinB says:

    But that song is in my head — “Free credit report.com Bsby!”

    Just kidding, I work for a bank and send everyone to the Annual site.

  29. JustaConsumer says:

    Are they in the running for the worst company? If not, they should be.

  30. DeafChick says:

    I hate their commercial. That is all.

  31. Buran says:

    @toddiot: *ahem* Song quote time.

    Levon wears his war wound like a crown
    He calls his child Jesus because he likes the name,
    And he sends him to the finest school in town …

    - Elton John

    (so yes, they do, often pronounced hay-SUS instead).

  32. Pink Puppet says:

    @landsnark: Was there really any reason to be rude, honestly? You’ll note that another individual politely explained the situation. Not everyone is aware of common names from other cultures, it does not make them an idiot nor does it mean they might be racist.

  33. sauceistheboss says:

    @landsnark: You are awfully cranky!

  34. uricmu says:

    He didn’t get the confirmation email immediately and didn’t follow up? Why not cancel immediately?

  35. MercuryPDX says:

    @howie_in_az: ROFL! You, my new friend, are awesome.

  36. MercuryPDX says:

    “I found myself swayed by the curiosity of knowing my credit score and I chose to go to the very adamantly advertised freecreditreport.com. Once I was at their website I found out that the free credit report was not really free to begin with, since you had to provide your credit card information and sign for a monthly plan of “free” credit reports and credit change notices. Since I was already there I said, “What the Hell?… Lets do it anyways!”.

    Must… resist… compelling urge…. to… blame… victim….

  37. Starbright says:

    Anyone know of a website that offers free credit reports to Canadians?

  38. Freethought says:

    I don’t know what they guy is talking about — there’s a clear link to all their customer service contact info, including an e-mail addy, mailing address, and a phone number that is answered 7 days a week, right on the home page for FreeCreditReport.com.

  39. Parting says:

    @ironchef: Thanks for the suggestion. I never thought of it like that.

  40. Parting says:

    @SomewhereOutThere: Just go to Equifax Canada website and TransSomething (forgot the name). You can print out and send a form to get your credit report. You have to send it by mail. You’ll have to look for it on the website, since they don’t like to advertise it, but they are obliged by law.

  41. MyCokesBiggerThanYours says:

    He gave someone his billing info and never did anything about it!? HE’S A DUMBASS. Its his fault, not the web site.

  42. Riddar says:

    @MercuryPDX: “Must… resist… compelling urge…. to… blame… victim….”

    Made me laugh!

    Anyway, yep, no one advertises for something that doesn’t make them money. Damn sketchy companies.

  43. jmarqrund says:

    came across some helpful advice in dealing with this company here. according to the thread people have gotten refunds through the better business bureau. I just filed my own complaint a few days ago. They’ve even paid out $1.25 million in FTC fines due to swindling people.

  44. pinkfish411 says:

    I had a problem with freecreditreport.com about three years ago. I signed up for the trial, only to find it nearly impossible to find any contact information on the website to cancel the account. When I finally found a number to call, I called it for a few days straight with no answer; it said the phone systems were have trouble. The last time I called, a recording told me I had the option of leaving a cancellation request on their voicemail system, so that’s exactly what I did.

    A few months later, my credit card statement showed a charge from them for like 80 bucks. I called to explain that I had cancelled using the voicemail option, and they denied any such option ever existed.

    Luckily, the credit card company was able to stop the charge and I got off free and clear.

  45. PamelaInParis says:

    Just FYI: I’m an American living in Paris and I tried to go to AnnualCreditReport. They only allow access from US ISPs.

  46. somecop says:

    @goodcow: Why did you just post your credit score? Is it something you are so proud of you want the world to know?

    \\\

    In any case, if they’ll screw Jesus then anyone is fair game.

  47. Starbright says:

    @chouchou: Thanks!

  48. rpm773 says:

    About 4 years ago, I too got hit with the $80 charge from them, about a year after I had ordered a credit report (which, I admit, I did after seeing a banner ad for them – stupidest thing I ever did).

    I went heavy on the CSR, and she backed off and reversed the charge. I suspect the firm was keeping a lower profile at that time than it is now and she was instructed to give in pretty quickly. After researching, I saw there were the whispers of class action lawsuit in the air at that time, and a number of bad BBB ratings.

    But back to Jesus. He might be the first person to legitimately sign up for this service. But how much does it cost to buy a credit report from one of te bureaus (aside from the 3 free ones per annum)? It can’t be much more than the ridiculous fee of 14.95/month…why the hell does he need a service for this?

  49. scoosdad says:

    @Freethought: Uh, gee thanks, uh “Free”, now seeing as this is your first post here, you wouldn’t by any chance be affiliated with the folks at freecreditreport.com now would you?

  50. juniper says:

    When this happened to me, I saw online that they gave people a hard time refunding and canceling, so I called my bank first to dispute the charge. The guy I spoke with on the customer service line said that he gets these calls daily now with tax season upon us, and he’ll refund the money but I needed to try my best to contact freecreditreport.com to cancel – and gave me a great line to give them: that if they tried to charge me again, my bank (National City) would refuse the charge. I asked him if this was true, and he admitted, no, they can’t actually do that, but there’s been a lot of success in canceling when calling freecreditreport.com if that’s said. It must cost them more money when a charge is “refused” than trying to ding you $15/month repeatedly.

    Give it a try, I guess. It worked for me. I was unsubscribed as soon as I reached a human with those magic words.

  51. Buran says:

    @somecop: Because he felt like it? Was it really worth your time to complain about 3 characters in someone else’s post?

  52. Whitey Fisk says:

    I would expect Jesus credit to be immaculate.

    /ducks

  53. WraithSama says:

    @Buran:
    It’s kind of amusing that they try using the “but, but, there’s suspicious activity..!” excuse when you’ve clearly been using their service already.

  54. diggtatorship says:

    WOW, I felt like I was reading about myself there for a minute.

    The EXACT same thing happened to me. I mean the E X A C T same thing. Only difference is that when I called and raised hell over it they refunded all of the fraudulent charges the next day.

  55. Evil bastards. I’ve had this happen a couple times, albeit with different types of services. I hate the feeling of regret/idiocy you have when you find out you’ve been fucked over.

  56. Mark 2000 says:

    WTF, Consumerist? I wrote to you about the same thing a few months back, except in my situation I canceled my account and the FreeCreditReport kept charging me anyway. Plus they were charging a card I never used so I never checked the bill and got my card revoked. This was Ben Popken’s response:

    >It’s not free. As they say on the front page, when you order it from
    >them they enroll you in “Triple AdvantageSM Credit Monitoring” for $14.95
    >a month. You need to be going to [www.annualcreditreport.com.] It’s
    >the only place to get your credit report for really free.
    >
    >–
    >BEN POPKEN
    >EDITOR
    >CONSUMERIST.COM

    No duh! Thanks, Consumerist, for responding to me as if you work for FCR.com.

  57. Yoooder says:

    @SonicMan: If you only use FCR for the monitoring you can get it cut down to $4.95/mo.

    I signed up for the free report/free month. When I called to cancel they offered me the same service for $5/mo which I declined. A few days later I decided it really wasn’t a bad deal so I called and asked for the deal again, which they gave me. They did bugger it up so that I’m getting the monitoring-only service, not the full “free report a month” service. I have a link inside my page that says “Click here for your free report” that then prompts me for $15, and also receive emails saying “your report is ready to review” and a link that takes me nowehere.

  58. Mr. Gunn says:

    VulcanMike: I saw an ad yesterday for creditreport.com. Of course, there was the rapidly mumbled “offer applies with enrollment in our ripoff service” statement at the end.

  59. albeery says:

    Last year when I was 20 and trying to build up some credit for various reasons. I finally got a credit card and was advised to get my credit report so that I have a benchmark to start out with when viewing my report anually. So being that I was young and naive I thought to try freecreditreport.com, and didn’t really read the fine print too well when signing up, and so was unaware of the charges that would acrue after one month. I got the confirmation email and I clicked the link…but when I got to the website I was not given my credit score and was only given a sort of weird half report from them. Then I wanted to cancel but I couldn’t find the number on the website and then it wouldn’t let me log in and they had the security questions wrong. Then I had my daughter and was in the hospital and forgot about it. Well a month later $15 came out of my credit card, and since I check it regularly I was immediately aware of it and remembered that I still needed to cancel. So I called and was faced with similar treatment. Long wait times, condescension and an unwillingness to cancel my account with them. Thankfully after being somewhat forceful, I was able to get them to cancel but they refused to refund me anything which was irritating but I realized that it was mostly my fault, now I was will just use the annual site…and read fine print a little better prior to using my credit card number!

  60. trujunglist says:

    @SonicMan:

    Your bank may have cheaper monitoring. I’d take a look at it.

  61. billin says:

    “One of their CSRs tried to scare Jesus…”

    Now that’s what I call chutzpah!

    Jesus: “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the-“
    CSR: “BOO!”
    [Silence as the crowd turns as one and stares at the CSR]

  62. masterasia says:

    I tried freecreditreport once and canceled as soon as I got my credit report. The credit report wasn’t even accurate and they don’t show you everything. I compared it to the one I got from my bank and it was totally different.