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"Free" credit report web sites that are not free
posted at January 9, 2012 7:43 PM EST
First: January 9, 2012
Last: January 9, 2012
The official US Governent web site for obtaining your free annual credit report from the 3 major credit bureaus is
However, other web sites advertise that they will give you "free" reports provided you sign up for a free, cancelable trial membership in their monthy credit reporting service. In fact, these are not as free as advertised.
The two web sites I know of are:
These are both actually owned by ConsumerInfo.com, Inc. which is a subsidiary of Experian, plc, though their main web page does not acknowledge their parent company, and that information is only disclosed if you follow the link "About Us".
According to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FreeCreditScore.com), "The sites, their benefactors, and related business entities have received multiple federal injunctions on deceptive marketing and business practices."
My experience with FreeCreditScore.com was that they did provide me with credit reports from the 3 companies, and after I gave them online my credit card information for my 7-day trial membership they did promise to cancel my membership when I phoned the number given on their web page (and, they sent me an email confirming the cancellation).
But -- what was not "free" is that without notifying me or asking for my authorization FreeCreditScore.com charged $29.95 to my credit card paid to Experion. I do not know what service or product that charge was for because no mention of it was presented on the web pages I viewed.
When I phoned FreeCreditSCore.com to cancel my 7-day trial membership they agreed to do so and to not charge my credit card. However, I have discovered on other Internet web sites former customers who were made the same promise but continued to receive monthly billings to their credit cards even after repeated calls to the company. I have not had sufficient time to discover if that will be a problem for me.
In addition to canceling my membership I requested that FreeCreditScore.com refund the unauthorized charge of $29.95 to Experion. They initially refused and claimed I had agreed to that charge. But, after I refused to accept their claim, they offered to refund $14.95 (keeping $15.00). I accepted that offer, and I am now awaiting the refund to show up on my credit card statement.
So, their "free" service has cost me $15.00 through an unatorized charge they made on my credit card to their parent company. And, if they do not honor their promise to cancel future monthly payments, it may cost me a lot more.