Yet Another Reader Scammed By FreeCreditReport.com

Here it is folks, your semi-annual reminder that FreeCreditReport is not free. Free credit reports can be found at AnnualCreditReport.com. FreeCreditReport.com is a pay site. As in you will be billed. As in not free.

Jose says:

I’m just writing you because I am so angry with freecreditreport.com. I wanted to check my credit report last month just to see where I stand so after watching the commercial, I used freecreditreport.com.

I am aware that, by law, your allowed one free credit report per year from each of the three credit unions. After I got my credit score I checked my BofA account and saw there was a $14.95 charge. I thought it was just a deposit and that it’ll be refunded.

I completely forgot about it and today, a month after I checked my score there is another $14.95 charge. I call freecreditreport.com to see whats wrong and they tell me I have to cancel my membership and the $14.95 charge will not be refunded. I get super upset and then they just hang up on me without trying to give me an explanation. The moral of the story is they are a scam and I would like to let you know that so other people don’t fall for the same thing I did.

Thanks, Jose. You might want to call Bank of America and explain the situation to them and see if they’ll reverse the charge. You’re not the only one who has fallen for the scruffy singing loser and his factually inaccurate songs. They have a big advertising budget, and we are just one little blog trying to explain federal law.

Comments

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  1. xkaluv says:

    If their ads wern’t so entertaining…

    • Moosehawk says:

      @xkaluv: yea, if only.

      • VeeKaChu says:

        @Moosehawk: The funniest part of the commercial campaign is that the pitch dude isn’t even a citizen, but rather hails from one of those chocolate-loving windmill-building countries, and isn’t even fluent in english. Bastards are using a foreigner pretending to be your slacker cousin to rip you off.

        • HeyBeav says:

          @VeeKaChu: I’ve never heard of Canada being referred to that way before.

          • VeeKaChu says:

            @HeyBeav: Hmmm… I stand corrected yet again- but I’m sticking to the part of the narrative concerning his inability to speak fluent english- I’m certain I read that.

            He’s still a damned foreign mucky-footed flim-flam artist.

    • ethereal_pete says:

      @xkaluv: Forget the scam of charging you 14.95, the real scam is that the guy in the commercials is really French-Canadian and they dub in the vocals….SHENANIGANS!!!!

    • freepistol says:

      @xkaluv:
      babies love the free credit report commercials ( my son dances like a nut everytime they come on, hes 1 ) maybe they are aiming to drill in the messege while they are still too young to realize its a scam.

      • kang says:

        @freepistol:

        Babies and my guildmates. The FCR songs became a bit of a sub-meme in-joke for about two or three months a while back. Hell, even reading this I’m trying desperately not to hear that “F-R-E-E, that spells free” one in my head.

    • bdgbill says:

      @xkaluv: @courtarro: Yeah! I love this one too. The woman looks really bitchy as she does the laundry. I wonder if she is pissed because there is a drummer in her bathroom?

      Do people actually check the credit of ptential fiancees?

    • Dr.Martha_Jones says:

      @xkaluv: Ugh, their ads are so bad they make me physically angry.

  2. GTI2.0 says:

    It’s a shame, but at the same time, if you Google “freecreditreport.com”, the second match is

    “FreeCreditReport.com Commercials Lying To You: Credit Reports Are …”

    [www.google.com]

    Basic consumerism should be at play here – do research before you give someone access to your very private, very sensitive information.

    • NightSteel says:

      @GTI2.0:

      Personally, I’d prefer that companies didn’t lie and force consumers to check up on them.

      We all already know it’s a good practice to check up on people you’re about to do business with. Your post doesn’t amount to much but blaming the victim for taking freecreditreport.com at its word.

      • GTI2.0 says:

        @NightSteel: Taking them at it’s word is reading it’s words other than the title. The site says it’s not free.

        Their words, on their homepage in perfectly legible print in the middle of the page, state:

        “IMPORTANT INFORMATION

        When you order your free report here, you will begin your free trial membership in Triple AdvantageSM Credit Monitoring. If you don’t cancel your membership within the 7-day trial period**, you will be billed $14.95 for each month that you continue your membership.”

    • FLEB says:

      @GTI2.0: Which is surprising, because… how do I put this tactfully… “stupid people”… (nope, not like that) have been known to dial absolutely EVERYTHING into Google, not ever realizing their browser has a URL bar.

  3. MisterAlex says:

    Seriously. My bank recovered over $65 in unauthorized charges from freecreditreport.com. I want to kick that singing dork in the throat.

  4. waybaker says:

    Rule of thumb… if its free, you should not have to provide credit card information to gain access to it.

    If a site asks for a credit card, I simply close the tab and go back to google to search for what I was looking for.

    • Gopher bond says:

      @waybaker: This. Even when they say some B.S. about needing your CC to verify something, don’t listen, the only reason they want your CC information is so they can charge you.

    • courtarro says:

      @waybaker: I think it’s easy to believe that a credit card number is required to check one’s credit report. If you’re the type person who doesn’t read the fine print (that you’re going to be signed up for a service), then you’re probably not the type who knows that isn’t necessary.

      • Gopher bond says:

        @courtarro: That’s why I always tell my family, don’t ever give out your credit card information unless you plan on getting charged for something. And that’s why I’m saying it here. Don’t give out your credit card information unless you want someone to charge it. I’m not saying it isn’t easy to make the mistake.

      • CarnageSIS says:

        @courtarro: Not really, after all when you buy a car, a house, sign up for a credit card, do any of those require another credit card to check your credit? No, it’s done by your SSN.

        You use a credit card IRL only when purchasing things, same thing goes online. Why does common sense have to stop at the keyboard? And why do we have to excuse people who think that way?

  5. OmniZero says:

    How come they haven’t been blasted for false advertising yet? It’s obviously NOT free like the name says. Anyone have an explanation?

    • Farquar says:

      @OmniZero: Because it is free..

      ..

      ..

      If you cancel the service within 7 days. (or is it 15 days…)

      • lowercase says:

        @Farquar: Hmm… in that case, everything at Target is free so long as I bring it back in 30 days or so, right?

        • Gopher bond says:

          @lowercase: But Target doesn’t let you pay after the 30 days are up, unless you have credit.

        • Pan_theFrog says:

          @lowercase: I knew someone who used to take back stuff (TVs, DVD players, stereos, etc)every 85 days and get in store credit to go get the newest replacements.

          He was in the US from Nigeria attending college, and didn’t see any reason that he should have anything to ship back when he left as he was going to sell brand-new-in-the-box stuff in the last week before he left.

    • spanky says:

      @OmniZero: On that count, because the free credit report is ‘free’ with purchase of the monitoring or whatever.

      They should, however, be blasted for false advertising because they’re lying about the legal ramifications of your credit report, and implying some kind of extortion.

      And because the plot line for the one has the dumbass trying to get credit at a BICYCLE SHOP.

    • CupcakeKarate says:

      @OmniZero: Actually, all of the ads say “Offer implies enrollment in Triple Advantage” at the very end. They don’t explicitly say that Triple Advantage implies payment, but it should alert the consumer that something is up.

      • OmniZero says:

        @LindsayC: But free is in the name….and if I didn’t see the commercial, or I’m deaf, then I go to the site and all that… I had no idea about any of it. Isn’t there some sort of issue with that?

      • SybilDisobedience says:

        @LindsayC: Yeah, and I think they were actually ordered to add that voice-over notice at the end of their ads because a court found them misleading. I can’t find the article where I read that, though, so I might be making it up in my feverish brain.

    • cortana says:

      @OmniZero:

      offer applies with enrollment in triple advantage

  6. NYGal81 says:

    I feel like even though this company is called “free credit report,” they’re pretty clear in the TV advertising that the free reports come only with enrollment in their credit monitoring service, or something like that.

    Further, wouldn’t you question why you have to give your bank or credit card information to get something free? Or possibly click on something that you understand the terms & conditions?

    I agree that their name is deceptive, but no more so than anything else that’s “free* with purchase.” I have a hard time seeing how BofA would feel compelled to reverse this charge. I totally feel bad for the guy that he got sucked in, but does that remove the responsibility he had to be aware of why he was giving his credit information and enrolling in a service?

    • MisterAlex says:

      @NYGal81: I didn’t notice the charges on my account for a while (my own fault, sure), but Compass Bank recovered over $65 in unwanted charges to my account.

    • BrAff says:

      @NYGal81: exactly…

    • newfenoix says:

      @NYGal81: Yes, they do say that it is only free with the enrollment. BUT, they also know damn well that people aren’t going to listen beyond the word “free.” That’s what they count on. And that’s how they rope people into this stuff.

    • stopNgoBeau says:

      @NYGal81: By your explaination, the phone and cable companies should start advertisments for free email accounts *with enrollment in your $50 a month internet access.

      • econobiker says:

        @stopNgoBeau: I DO think their wording should be:

        “Free credit report when you pay for Triple Advantage enrollment.”

        That would slightly increase the level of understanding of these sad people…

      • NYGal81 says:

        @stopNgoBeau: I don’t think that’s what I meant. I was thinking more along the lines of “Southern Fried Chicken Sandwich free with purchase of a soft drink.”

        The ads clearly state that you get a free credit report when you enroll for their credit monitoring thing-a-ma-jig. How is that different than any other time you’re asked to pay for something in order to get something else free?

        BTW…don’t phone companies already do this? “Free phone when you sign a two year contract… Or how about this? I get used to get cards in the mail all the time from Bath and Body Works–FREE SOMETHING-OR-OTHER!!! (with any purchase). They certainly hype the FREE!!! part to get you in the door. Then you have to buy something else? Why should this situation be any different? Your credit report is free, as long as you sign up for their product.

        Here’s exactly what it says on their website:
        “IMPORTANT INFORMATION
        When you order your free report here, you will begin your free trial membership in Triple AdvantageSM Credit Monitoring. If you don’t cancel your membership within the 7-day trial period**, you will be billed $14.95 for each month that you continue your membership.”

        And that’s on their MAIN PAGE. It’s not even hidden in the fine print. Hell…they even give you the link to the website where you can actually get your really free credit report. So either this guy didn’t look at the website carefully–and I didn’t either…it took me less than 10 seconds–or he didn’t cancel within 7 days. What part of that makes this situation deceptive?

        Again, bad as I feel for the guy, being asked to pay for something to get something else free isn’t exactly a novel concept. You know, like, “buy one, get one free?”

  7. MaxSmart32 says:

    I’m sorry, Jose, but it is pretty clear that they are going to charge you. I don’t feel all that bad, and you should take the $19.90 as a hard lesson learned to read the mouse-print.

    • trax323i says:

      Did you read the article? He was charged $14.95…

      Grand Pacific MarBrisa ResortAnyways this has been discussed all the time on this site. Yeah, the name is deceptive, but looking at the main page of the site you can clearly see the terms and conditions…it’s not fine print and you don’t have to hunt around looking for it. It’s also an Experian company.

      Oh hey btw, my first post! yippeee!

    • TracyHamandEggs says:

      @MaxSmart32: Not even mouseprint. They say it out loud on the commercial “Free credit report only with enrollment…”

  8. Git Em SteveDave loves this guy--> says:

    Jose, call one of the credit companies and say you are the victim of fraud. Then you get another set of credit reports free. I think that’s your best bet. Either that or file a chargeback.

    • FrankTheTank says:

      @Git Em SteveDave loves this guy–>: DO NOT DO THIS. This clearly isn’t fraud (it’s deceiving and kinda scummy, but not fraud) and by claiming so, you’re going to be putting yourself in a bad situation. I believe there’s a box and click through accepting the terms of FreeCreditReport’s site. That fact that he blindly clicked through doesn’t excuse him.

      Claiming fraud and asking for a chargeback is not the solution to everything.

      • econobiker says:

        @FrankTheTank: If you are adversely affected by a credit report you can get a free report. This could happen if your car insurance renewal cost is upped due to the company using credit reports for scoring. I used this to get a free report even outside of the time limit the insurance company said you would have to receive one…

    • EdnaLegume says:

      @Git Em SteveDave loves this guy–>: I’m not positive but I believe if you claim fraud with one of the credit reporting agencies, it flags your credit and you will have a bitch of a time getting credit YOURSELF, let alone getting the fraud flag removed.
      Definitely not worth it. Plus, it’s not really fraud. The OP just didn’t read the information.

  9. VerneyCursor says:

    I thought this was the annualcreditreport.com and later firgured out that this is only free for first 7 days but then I dont remember if I called them or emailed htem on the 7th day and they closed the account so I was not billed.

    So try emailing them if you did your email before the 7th day and even if you dont get the response on the 7th day i dont think they are going to charge you so try first

  10. crazydavythe1st says:

    “Offer applies with enrollment in triple advantage” EVERY one of there ads says something like this. It’s not a scam when they tell you in the advertisement, and give you a trial period in which you can cancel.

    And you are getting something for that money – a score and monitoring service.

  11. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    I have a feeling that with consumer decisions like this, Jose’s credit score isn’t that great :P

  12. Sam Glover says:

    America, land of the free*.

    *Some restrictions apply.

  13. Jevia says:

    I know you can get your credit REPORT for free, but I think that you always have to pay someone a fee to get a credit SCORE.

  14. Crabby Cakes says:

    A little off topic- but for 2 days I’ve been trying to go to annualcreditreport.com and the site has been off-line. Anyone else having trouble?

  15. newfenoix says:

    My wife went through a similar situation with these asshats. She created an account and tried for four months to access it and could never get in. She called customer non-service to cancel the account and got a royal run around. After several minutes of verbal jousting, my wife asked to speak to a supervisor. Thirty seven minutes later, a supervisor finally spoke with her and it was more of the same “the information does not match” crap.

    Finally my wife exploded and told her that the account would be canceled NOW. The supervisor finally relented and after trying again to keep my wife as a customer she told her that it would take up to 90 days for the account to actually cancel in their system. As she was doing this, I called BOA and told them about the situation and they stopped the monthly debit to these fools. This is one time that BOA was very cooperative. They even put a fraud warning on this very debit.

    Three weeks later, my wife got a very angry phone call from a very pissed off accounts manager wanted to know why they were being accused of fraud. My wife explained the situation and of course the asshole from Free Report stated that she never canceled the account. Now, my wife is not a fool. She had gotten the CSR’s name and the supervisor’s name and extension from when she called to cancel. After a few minutes of checking, the manager stated the same 90 day BS that the supervisor said. This is when my wife asked for his name and extension. He gave it and then asked why we needed it. She told him that it was going the Texas AG’s office and that she was also filing criminal charges against him and the supervisor for fraud and turning the information over to our private attorney.

    The fool was silent for a few moments and then said “alright, it’s canceled.” He then had the balls to ask her to remove the fraud warning, which she refused. He then began to act like a punished little kid and asked her if she knew what kind of trouble his company could get into because of this. All my wife said was “yep” and hung up.

  16. HRHKingFridayXX says:

    Personally, my favorite is the one where he claims that the bike store only had a beat up piece of junk for him after they saw his credit. Ok, if you need financing to buy a bike, you are in sorry shape. Also, I really resent that they’re looking down on buying something with cash- also seen in one of their first commercials where he’s driving a sub-compact instead of a new SUV.

    Dicks.

  17. trinidon2k says:

    Am I the only one that likes the FreeCreditReport commercials? I actually get excited when a new one comes on. Plus, the French Canadian guy (the singer) is much better than Mark Swenson (“I’m thinking of a number” guy).

    • HRHKingFridayXX says:

      @trinidon2k: Yes, you are.

      All I hear is “Lie lie lie, bad credit, lie lie lie”

    • BrianDaBrain says:

      @trinidon2k: You know that old Simon and Garfunkle song “The Boxer”? The end of that song goes “Lie Lie Lie Lie Lie Lie Lie”. That’s all I hear when I see that commercial. I personally found the “I’m thinking of a number” guy far more tolerable than the cheesy songs.

  18. mike says:

    Is there a way we can pay google for the keywords to direct to annualcreditreport.com? I’d be willing front some money toward this.

  19. albear says:

    The FTC should really look into this. The name is super deceiving. And so are the ads. The funny thing is that Experian owns this scam site. Bastards!

    • theglassishalf says:

      @albear: The FTC *Did* look into this. [www.ftc.gov] They let them off with a slap on the wrist and slightly more disclosure requirements. (Now, the fine print is on the homepage. It’s true that it’s dark-blue text on light-blue background, and off to the side, and small, but at least it’s there.)

  20. warf0x0r says:

    @OP the moral of the story is… “How can you read consumerist and not understand that you’re paying for their credit score and on top of that they provide you with a “free” credit report.”

    Credit Score = A number the big 3 use to simplify your credit report.
    COSTS MONEY TO VIEW.

    Credit Report = The actual information about you, from which your Credit Score is generated.
    FREE ONCE EACH YEAR FROM EACH OF THE BIG 3.

    I honestly don’t understand how people don’t understand this by now, can someone explain it to me?

    • dhmosquito says:

      @warf0x0r: Unfortunately, you’re correct. Am I the only one in America who absolutely RESENTS the fact that while a consumer can get a bona fide Free Credit Report each year, your “credit scores”, or whatever the hell they are called, are NOT FREE, so one must pay somehow to see them? And I refuse to sign up initially for services that offer you a glimpse of your “credit scores”, only to cancel later, which seems dishonest to me. Hell, it’s YOUR “credit score”, so why can’t we see them, just like our “credit report”? I see the whole thing about “credit scores” as a scam intended to separate us from our cash. And unfortunately, these credit rating agencies can wreak havoc. What a big crock of shit.

    • Brazell says:

      @warf0x0r: Ahh thanks for the tip on the credit score.

  21. gggtur says:

    I’ve used freecreditreport.com and they make it VERY clear that you will be enrolling in a credit monitoring program for which you will be charged should you not cancel within a given period of time (I think it’s 10 days). You can cancel the day of if you want to, so it’s really not that complicated.

    Now, addressing the people who do not understand why one uses freecreditreport.com to check their credit over the 3 free agencies…the free reporting agencies provide a credit HISTORY (things that get reported). However, they do not report a credit score, so they are all but useless.

  22. cmdrsass says:

    “Offer applies with enrollment in triple advantage”
    “Offer applies with enrollment in triple advantage”
    “Offer applies with enrollment in triple advantage”
    “Offer applies with enrollment in triple advantage”

    TANSTAAFL

  23. swissdietcoke says:

    Taken from the front page of http://www.freecreditreport.com

    MPORTANT INFORMATION

    When you order your free report here, you will begin your free trial membership in Triple AdvantageSM Credit Monitoring. If you don’t cancel your membership within the 7-day trial period**, you will be billed $14.95 for each month that you continue your membership.
    ConsumerInfo.com, Inc. and Freecreditreport.com are not affiliated with the annual free credit report program. Under a new Federal law, you have the right to receive a free copy of your credit report once every 12 months from each of the three nationwide consumer reporting companies. To request your free annual report under that law, you must go to http://www.annualcreditreport.com.

    ……..so….they say they will charge you…and they do.. Where’s the problem?

    • mike says:

      @swissdietcoke: When one goes to freecreditreport.com, they think, “Hey! I get a free credit report!” Do you honestly read all the End-User agreements and Terms of Service?

      I know I don’t!

      It’s like me having a website freeprostateexam.com. The prostate exam is free, but you still pay for the office visit.

      • my_imaginary_friends_bore_me says:

        @mike: It’s not in the End-User agreement and Terms of Service, you don’t even have to scroll down to find it.

      • NYGal81 says:

        @mike: It’s not like they’re hiding it. It’s right on the front page. It’s not bogged down in fine print and legalese. It’s right there, for all to see. I just looked myself, and it literally was right there. I didn’t have to scroll. I didn’t have to click. The point is, unless the guy was blind in his left eye…no, nevermind…even his right eye would have seen it. I just covered my left eye to make sure.

        • Sam Glover says:

          @NYGal81: That gray-on-gray text box with a brighter, overlapping box forcing it into the background really stands out. I bet if you want to make sure people read something, putting it in a grayed-out box is the best way to make sure everyone sees it.

          It isn’t like they are putting it out there, knowing nobody will read it because of the way they designed their page, or anything. Right?

    • my_imaginary_friends_bore_me says:

      @swissdietcoke: just to add to what you had copy from the website

      **Monitoring with Experian begins within 48 hours of enrollment in your free trial. Monitoring with Equifax and TransUnion takes approximately 4 days to begin, though in some cases cannot be initiated during your trial period. You may cancel your trial membership any time within 9 days of enrollment without charge.

    • trekwars2000 says:

      @swissdietcoke: I concur, there should be no problems…

      I guess people should just read things when they see free.

  24. MyPetFly says:

    Does anyone else have an overwhelming urge to smack the crap out of the scruffy guy with the smirk?

  25. PhilbertPeriphetes says:

    Hope this helps Jose and anyone else, but I got suckered into signing up for FreeCreditReport.com as well. When I got socked with the $14.95 bill, I called and demanded a refund. When they said that wasn’t possible, I told them either they can refund my money or I’ll just dispute it with my credit card company and I’ll get my money back either way. They immediately relented and refunded my money and canceled the membership that I was suckered into.

  26. APFPilot says:

    I really don’t see what Freecreditreport.com did wrong in this case. My Fiancee and I were going to buy a house a couple of months ago and I had already used my annual credit report about 8 months prior. So I signed up for Freecreditreport.com, got our history pulled called and canceled. Took no more than 15 minutes.

  27. econobiker says:

    And you can see further legions of idiot consumers by going on ripoffreport, pissedconsumer, consumercomplaints, my3cents and query for freecredit report. It looks like some of these people just crawled out from under a rock as for understanding “fine” and “not so fine” print.

    These are probably the same folks who complain about TSA taking their pocket knives when they are trying to fly on an airplane for the first time after the Sept. 2001…

  28. pockygt says:

    Ed McMahon was on that stupid FOX morning show, talking about how FreeCreditReport.com helped him save his credit or some stupid crap.

    It was pretty disheartening :(

  29. kathyl says:

    Yeah, but it doesn’t matter that they say a million times that they’re going to enroll you in their “service”. A lot of people know that you are entitled to a free credit report once per year, and I think that many of them believe that anyone who offers you credit reports in any capacity has to offer you one report per year for free to comply with Federal law. This, as many of us know, is not true, but it’s not making it through the catchy songs on television to everyone who needs that information.

    What needs to be stressed, and I wish the Fed would use a little commercial time (the more you know, the more you grow) is that you can only get your free, once-per-year credit report in accordance with Federal law from each of the three main credit agencies through annualcreditreport.com and NOT from just any old “provider” of credit reporting information.

  30. AbdulAndreus says:

    Last holiday season I also fell for that scam. But I kind of realized it as I went into it, yet was so desperate to obtain my credit score so I did it anyway. I was however proactive and immediately after receiving the e-mail which gave me my score I called the people and canceled my subscription right away so I could take advantage of the “free trial”…and they were so persistent and adamant on me keeping the account for at least a month—DON’T DO IT! Just get what you want, get out, and say nooo to gimmicks :) Hope t his helps!

  31. BigBoat says:
  32. HowardBomb says:

    I find this hilarious. So because people fail to read the contract they’re scammers? It’s even on their commercial if you decide to read the small print. So because people are stupid, freecreditreport is scammers? Seriously people read what you’re signing up for, it’s no ones fault but your own when you don’t read.

    • Aisley says:

      @HowardBomb:

      Howard, Howard, Howard. It is not a matter of being stupid because you don’t read the small print. It is a matter of being a scammer for using the “small print” method. Whenever I have to sign something, I don’t even finish reading it if there’s small print. When a person, corporation or organization uses small print, they’re not looking to save paper, if you catch my drift. And even if the person reads the whole contract it may not help. The way those contracts are redacted should be a crime punishable by jail time. The read exactly like the patriot act: In the case person is tried and found guilty of the commission of crimes as they’re described in State of Michigan v. Johnson, the sentencing guidelines to be used and applied will be those that conmesurate with the Federal standard set fore by the November 1999 US Supreme Court decision on Vegas v. Atlantic Corporation.” Get it now? a lot of wording that means nothing except when the suits want. And to understand the $#^%^%**& small print you have to bring who knows how many other books to find out what they’re really talking about.

      • wiggatron says:

        @Aisley: Whenever I have to sign something, I don’t even finish reading it if there’s small print.

        So do you still sign it then?

        I’ve got to agree with HowardBomb. I went to the site once, read the fine print, saw that they wanted to charge me for my “free credit report”, and promptly closed the tab.

  33. unpolloloco says:

    Anyone stupid enough to use that service deserves to pay the 14.95 a month. If they made it impossible to cancel triple advantage, it would be a different story. However, in this case, they make it insanely clear that you are automatically enrolled in triple advantage unless you cancel within a week

  34. dry-roasted-peanuts says:

    Caveat emptor.

  35. mlradio says:

    Sorry, no sympathy for Jose on this one. It very, VERY clearly states that you will be enrolled their monthly triple advantage when you sign up. It is awfully difficult to miss.

    Sure, the whole company is one huge scam — but it is a scam that you have to intentionally *opt-in* to get scammed by. You can only protect the customer from his/her own bad decisions so far — I kinda consider it like a financial Darwin test.

  36. mugsywwiii says:

    As worthless as freecreditreport.com is, they aren’t lying. They will give you a free credit report. And it’s not as if the information about Triple Advantage is in tiny type buried under a mountain of legal crap. It’s in the same font as everything else on the page, it clearly details the terms of the deal, and it’s under a bold header that says Payment Information. How much harder can they hit you over the head before you accept that it was your mistake?

  37. Brazell says:

    The FreeCreditReport commercials don’t explain well enough that it’s free, they sneak that in at the end softly, quietly, and quickly — “Offer applies with enrollment in triple advantage.” They are duplicitous with this, and the FTC agreed in 2005, charging them with misleading consumers.

    THis article, though, prompted me to actually get my ACTUAL free credit report through the gov’t’s service. Equifax and Experion were pretty easy, but I couldn’t get into TransUnions because you had to provide every account number for your cards/accounts… and one of them was for a card that I hadn’t had in 2 years (closed in 2007, this confirmed by Exuifax) and so had no way of getting the account number other than to call them and sift through operators. That was just to confirm my identity, which on Equifax and Experion, you answered a few simple questions that most people know off hand if they’re the right person.

    Also, how do you actually get your credit score? These reports don’t actually give me my score. I have good credit, and I have for a few years now, but I want to know exactly what my score is because I’m considering buying a new car.

  38. XianZhuXuande says:

    And now Timmy learns that advertising costs money, and that something which is free, and being advertised, has to draw revenue from somewhere! One day he will graduate to the, “If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is!” principle.

    That said, any reminder to everyone about the FreeCreditReport.com scam is definitely welcome.

  39. Venkman says:

    Here’s an article from yesterday on the FACT Act and how to get your REAL (federally mandated) free credit report: [dealgasam.blogspot.com]

  40. crazydavythe1st says:

    Did anyone notice that they even have a link to annualcreditreport.com for people who don’t want to enroll for the credit monitoring and want the free with no strings attached credit report?

  41. Difdi says:

    The freecreditreport commercials are entertaining, and the tune is catchy. But I’ve seen quite a few of them, and every claim they make in the commercial is either sleazy (like the one where the guy had to have been planning to mooch on his wife’s good credit since his was bad, didn’t check hers, and now is screwed) or an outright lie (contagious bad credit). The only true thing in any of the commercials that I’ve seen is that quickly spoken, low-toned disclaimer at the end about their triple advantage program. How they get away with such false advertising is beyond me.

  42. JoseC says:

    Jose here, I didn’t read the TOS cause, like most americans, rely on the advertisements. Lesson Learned. By the way, AlteredBeast, my credit score is a 753, above the national avererage, and I’m a 20 year old college student.

  43. sublicon says:

    I have no sympathy for people who don’t understand that you’re opening an account, and if you don’t want to be charged again, you must cancel. Simple as that. You have to read the fine print. Be a consumer, but don’t be a stupid consumer. If you fall for it, you’re a sucker.

  44. HallFeardie says:

    These snakes got me when I was going thru the FTC website to get my scores. All three bureaus allow you to review your report for free once a year, but charge you to see your all important number. On Experian it seems to automatically sign you up for some credit monitoring…at least that’s what I found out after being charged for it after three months.
    After getting the correct phone number from dial a human I called.
    The rep ID’s the company as freecreditreport.com and not Experian. After a half hour hold I was granted an opportunity to (calmly) explain to a supervisor that I found their tactics deceptive and was considering contacting my attorney general.
    I was credited back a full refund in less than 48 hours.

  45. SwastiAstyanax says:

    Freecreditreport.com my ass! I got scammed just like everyone else. When I tried to cancel, they gave me the run around for months. Emails get sent to “email hell” and when you call, IF and only IF you can get through to someone, it is like talking to a bottle of maple syrup! These bastards should FRY for their false advertising! Oh ya, if you want a 3 bureau report, get ready to PONY UP!

  46. charodon says:

    It’s insane that the FTC allows the credit reporting companies to get away with this crap.

  47. synergy says:

    All I want to know is, who’s the guy in that pic and in all their commercials??? I swear I’ve seen him in something else!

  48. mikells43 says:

    what you must do right after you get the report is call and cancel it. write it down on a notepad to call the next day if u wanna wait.

    you can get a free report on freecreditreport.com it is free if you cancel it. you have to cancel it though.

    there is no scam involved. she messed up and was complaciant so she got charged. its common. if you want it free, call and give a no bs attitude and cancel the damn thing. this was a waste of blog space consumerist. come on now. it was her mistake not the sites. they clearly state that you get charged if you dont cancel it. you can check it as many times as u want within a period but if you dont cancel it you get charged. stop wasting mine and the rest of the people reading this blog’s time. cause we know this. she messed up not them.

  49. XTC46 says:

    actually, it says very clearly that you get a fee credit report, but need to cancel within 3 days or its a monthly fee via lendingtree.com

    I happily used the service for over a year until my bank started offering it for free.

    Try reading the things you agree to before entering CC info…

    • XTC46 says:

      @xtc46: Oh, and it took 30 seconds for me to cancel when I finally did. I just called, said I was canceling, they asked why and I told them I got the service for free now. They said ok…no problem what so ever.

  50. RedwoodFlyer says:

    $14.95 is small change to avoid being dressed up like a pirate in a restaurant…

  51. ckaught78 says:

    The report and score is free as long as you cancel within their specified time window, so technically it isn’t false advertising.

    Come on people, have a little common sense. The people who feel they are getting scammed by freecreditreport are the same ones that bought a house taking out a 5 year ARM with a 7% teaser rate then not realizing that the rate may go up in 5 years when it resets and that your house may go down in value. Let me guess, you want John McCain to buy your mortgage at full price?

    Everyone is quick to blame big corporations for their problems, but main street is just as much to blame as wall street.

    • arachnophilia says:

      @ckaught78: the part that annoys me is that it’s technically not false advertising. the credit report is free, the service is not.

      even still, i think someone could still prosecute. after all, in prostitution cases, “i charge for the companionship, but the sex is free” doesn’t generally fly.

  52. czarandy says:

    It’s not like it’s a big secret that they will charge you. Right on their main page it says:
    When you order your free report here, you will begin your free trial membership in Triple AdvantageSM Credit Monitoring. If you don’t cancel your membership within the 7-day trial period**, you will be billed $14.95 for each month that you continue your membership.

    That’s hardly “small print”. This isn’t a scam at all.

    • Zephyr7 says:

      @czarandy: Small print is anything that is designed to be overlooked. Compared to everything else on the page it is small and much less prominent. That’s what they did here: small and low-contrast (blue text on blue background).

  53. kairi2 says:

    A couple years ago I almost got tricked into signing up for this. Too bad when they asked for my credit card information, warning bells went off. Most people will realize that a company doesn’t need your credit card information to run a credit report.

  54. BrianDaBrain says:

    Helpful advise to anybody signing up for anything: Read the contract before you sign it. Terms of service are provided during the sign up process that state there will be a charge. It is written on freecreditreport.com before you even start to sign up. There is a vocal disclaimer at the end of the annoying commercials. I’m not blaming the OP here, everybody falls for this kind of thing sometimes, but it’s much harder to get scammed when you notice that even though it’s called FREEcreditreport, there are disclaimers everywhere on the site that say it’s not free.

  55. Zephyr7 says:

    FREE credit report! Get your FREE credit report at FREEcreditreport.com! (costs $14.95 a month)

    It’s incredible that people are even defending these misleading a-holes. Sure you have a responsibility as a consumer to know what you’re getting yourself into, but how much more misleading does it need to get before it’s considered illegal?

    I haven’t seen or heard the commercials, just know that supposedly reputable companies are giving referrals to freecreditreport.com, and that site goes NOT do a good job of honestly, plainly and most of all clearly stating that it will cost you money.

    • BrianDaBrain says:

      @Zephyr7: I don’t think anybody here is saying that it’s right or good. Hell, I hate that company and its ads and everything about it. I hate the fact that they’re sneaky bastards. BUT, their website is legally required to tell you that the service costs $14.95 per month, and it does. Granted its in smaller print on the left side of the screen, but it is there, and that’s all they legally have to do. Yes, it’s a scam, yes they should all be dragged out behind the woodshed and axed, but that probably won’t happen.

      Again, I’m not saying that they’re correct in the way they market themselves, but it is the ultimate responsibility of the consumer to ensure that what’s being presented isn’t a scam.In this case, it’s as easy as A) actually listening to the commercials, because they tell you it’s not free, B) reading the paragraph on the freecreditreport homepage that tells you it’s not free, or C) paying attention to the myriad of posts on Consumerist that talk about how it’s not free.

      IMO

  56. KentBarracuda says:

    I have had FRC for over a year and I got exactly what I paid for the service was exactly as described. I called this AM to cancel the service and they offered a 50% discount to $6.?? just FYI to any subscribers

  57. SidoniaMagumbalee says:

    I used this just last night to get my credit score, and it was made quite plain on the site that I was signing up for a 7-day trial and that I’d have to cancel to avoid payment. Plus, the whole having to enter my credit card number was kind of a tip-off.

    As soon as I got my score, I wrote down the phone number I need to call to cancel. (I’ll put that off till I’m in a good mood.)

  58. centraal says:

    Unfortunately, annualcreditreport.com won’t help you if you happen to be an American overseas — it won’t accept foreign ISPs. Anyone know of a good, free proxy that will get through?

  59. Anonymous says:

    This IS a scam and I got my $$ back.

    If you know anything about disclosure, you know that fine print is not an ethical way to do it. thats why financial companies have strict rules about disclosure.

    customers do have rights and they are NOT responsible for reading the fine print if they are misled. Thats why freecreditreport has been sued and lost, and they will refund your money if you know your rights.

    I wrote to:
    ConsumerInfo.com
    Attn: Customer Care
    PO Box 19729
    Irvine, CA 92623-9729

    they gave me a partial refund which really made me angry, so I wrote another letter telling them GIVE ME BACK THE MONEY YOU STOLE FROM ME!!!

    I sent an email copy to:
    i sent a copy via e-mail to support@FreeCreditReport.com

    they replied almost instantly wow!

    Dear Trevor Jordet:

    Thank you for writing and we apologize for the inconvenience.

    We have already initiated a refund of $44.85 to your account. This refund should appear on your next billing cycle.

    Thank you for using FreeCreditReport.com.

    Sincerely,

    Beth G.
    Customer Care Representative

  60. Anonymous says:

    Man do I wish I had seen this before I got sucked into using FreeCreditReport.com last year. I later noticed these odd $15/month charges on my bank account from something called Tripple Advantage. When I called my bank they told me it was FreeCreditReport charging me. When I called FCR about it, they said: it’s stated on the homepage of the site that you will be AUTOMATICALLY (i.e.: without your express consent) enrolled in a service for which you will be charged. They enroll you in the service as soon as you *review* your report. So they’ll generate the report for free but they won’t let you see it without charging you money.
    I think there should be a class action suit against them for charging without consent, for misleading customers, and for fraudulent services.

    THEY ARE A SCAM, and the worst part is they are scamming the people in the most dire need. Who goes to a site like FCR except those of us who are desperately trying to get our heads above water?

    • isilia says:

      @YachneKeenan:

      le ditto.

      Luckily, I caught this charge 11 days after getting my credit report. (Unemployment has, ironically, lent me a lot of time to watch my financial accounts.)

      Yes, I skimmed the fine print and missed the 9 day grace period. My bad. But I’m more disappointed that it was Mint.com that linked me to FreeCreditReport.com.