16 CFR Part 610 Amendments to Rule to Prevent Deceptive Marketing of Credit Reports and to Ensure Access to Free Annual File Disclosures
Another despicable practice with "free" credit report websites is claiming to offer a free credit report and not delivering. For instance, take a look at Credit.com and CreditKarma.com. Both market a free credit report - In fact, it's the page title for both websites' home pages. Credit.com's home page title is: "Credit Cards - Free Credit Reports - Online Loans - Credit.com." And Credit Karma's home page title is: "Free Credit Score & Free Credit Reports. No Credit Card Needed." Credit Karma even takes it one step further by claiming on their home page that they "believe free access to one's credit score and report is a fundamental consumer right." Yet, neither site actually offers a free credit report! Both sites have what they call a "credit report card," but this is not a legitimate and full credit report, merely a summary of information. I think it's deceptive to market these reports cards as "free credit reports." What's worse is that if you visit these sites and actually want to see a copy of your free credit report, as many consumers do because both show up in search results for "free credit report," you're sent off to another website to PURCHASE a credit report. Credit.com has various partners that consumers can BUY their credit report through, while Credit Karma seems to send consumers off to Transunion exclusively to purchase a report. The misuse of the word "free," especially in the free credit report space, needs to stop! Credit.com and CreditKarma are just as deceptive in their marketing as FreeCreditReport.com. If a company promises a free credit report - or a free anything for that matter - they should be held accountable by agencies like the FTC to deliver what they promise. When issuing a rule to prevent deceptive marketing practices in February, please consider also including rules to prevent companies from claiming to offer something for free that don't - like Credit.coma and CreditKarma.com.