16 CFR Part 610 Amendments to Rule to Prevent Deceptive Marketing of Credit Reports and to Ensure Access to Free Annual File Disclosures
Annual Credit Reports should be free and that means there should be absolutely NO advertising or links on the AnnualCreditReport.com website that take the consumer to pay for services. I do not believe that advertising and marketing ploys should be delayed as you propose in the new rules. I think they should be eliminated entirely from the AnnualCreditReport.com site. It is all too easy for the uninitiated to fall into traps set by clever advertisers and the three credit agencies to trick consumers into thinking they must pay for particular services. If you must include links to the credit bureaus put them in clearly demarcated advertising sections. As examples of a raft of deceptive practices: 1. When I go to the TransUnion website there is no link for a free credit report. If they are required by law to supply me a free report, there should be a link on the front page of their website. Why don't you hold this company responsible? 2. When I go to Experian, they promise a free report and score, but then ask for a credit card number so they can charge me $15/mo. (If you happen to read the fine print.) Another form of legalized thievery! Why hasn't the FTC done something about that? Does Experian lobby for these exceptions to the law? 3. When I go to Equifax, I'm greeted by a huge red button offering to show me my "FICO Score Now." Then after clicking the link I have to enter credit card info. At least they put the charges on top of the page and don't hide them in fine print like the others. To get a "Free annual credit report", Experian puts a link to the AnnualCreditReport.com website on their front page. But it is in a very small font and not nearly as visible as the pay-for link. Equifax is the only site to put a link to the free credit site on their web page. Why are the other two bureaus not required do to so? The business of the "credit score" being a pay-for only item also bothers me. If it is my score I should be able to see it. I've gotten three credit reports that tell me very little. I still have no idea what my score is. How does this help me understand my credit worthiness? And furthermore how does it help me understand that I may need to correct misinformation, when I have no idea if I have a bad score or not. As usual all the chips are stacked on the side of the credit bureaus. Give us a break. If you are going to the trouble to rewrite the law give consumers free credit scores. That would be meaningful reform. These credit bureaus make plenty of profit on the backs of consumers without us paying for our own credit scores. I am growing very weary of constantly going up against these goliaths with the lobbying clout to tailor all the rules and regs to their advantage. How about doing something for citizens, who in the end pay all the bills...and lately who are even paying the bonuses for the financial wizards who would cheat us.