FreeCreditReport.com Just Got Even Less Free

Between their irritating ads and misleading name, FreeCreditReport.com has been a target of Consumerist’s derision for years. And now the “service,” which was never free to begin with, will actually cost you a dollar to use.

Now, when you go the site’s homepage you’re told, “Check your Report for $1 and get your Score Free! Plus, we’ll donate your dollar to charity.”

Aside from the Random CapitalizatioN in the first sentence, it doesn’t explain why they’re charging $1 for something you can get for free elsewhere. So in addition to signing up (perhaps unwittingly) for a 7-day free trial of Experian’s credit monitoring service that will cost you $14.95/month if you don’t cancel, you’ve now donated $1 to an unnamed charity.

And it gets better — that $1 donation isn’t actually a donation, at least not from you.
Explains the FAQ at FreeCreditReport:

The $1 fee that you’re charged to see your report is an actual fee and not itself a donation. We are taking the fee and as a gesture of goodwill, donating to charitable causes on your behalf. Because of this, no receipt is provided for tax purposes. Also, because it’s a fee we have to charge applicable sales taxes.

So… You have to pay a $1 fee, and possibly sales tax, that Experian then gets to write off on their own books as a charitable donation?

What a bargain!

I’m going to leave it to our kith and kin at Consumer Reports to have the last word:

You probably don’t need credit monitoring if you order the truly free credit reports from AnnualCreditReport.com. Ordering one report from each of the three credit bureaus every 4 months should give you enough information without the need for a credit monitoring service’s monthly fees.

“Free” credit report now costs $1 [Consumer Reports]