The Federal Trade Commission has officially made a commitment to crack down on companies that that offer misleading advertising regarding free credit reports. According to reports, the FTC will now require companies to clearly state in their advertising that the only site authorized to offer free credit reports is AnnualCreditReport.com.
Credit Card Bill of Rights Changes the Game
Many reports discussed the changes that would occur as a result of the Credit Card Bill of Rights, but one aspect that was overlooked was the advertising changes that the FTC required to help consumers know where to get their free credit report.
While many sites offer their version of a free report to consumers, the only site that is authorized to provide one free report from each credit bureau per year is AnnualCreditReport.com. Most sites require a credit card in order to get the free score and will begin charging for additional services after a specified period of time; however, the authorized site does not. You should protect yourself and learn more about whether you can trust online credit report companies.
To avoid confusion, the FTC wants to put a stop to radio, TV and online ads that hook consumers with catchy jingles and promises of free reports that actually impose the monthly fees for other services they didn’t know they signed up for.
To do this, it will require companies to note somewhere in their advertising that AnnualCreditReport.com is the only place to receive the free yearly report. All changes must be made by Sept. 1, 2010.
Free Reports and Scores, Too?
The FTC wants it to be clear that while site offers authorized free credit reports each year, it does not offer a free credit score. Some sites may give you access to one or more of your FICO credit scores as a part of their trial period, but no site outright offers scores for free. This means, if you sign up for your free score and do not cancel the trial before the deadline, you should expect to be charged for additional services.
These changes are being made to help people receive their free credit reports with no barriers or confusion. The FTC hopes that those who want their free score and nothing more will be guided to the authorized site while others who want additional services will continue to work with the companies that offer them.