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Catchy? Yes. Upfront and totally truthful? No. Turns out free credit report offers--like the one above--are going to have to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth from now on. Maybe the lyrics can be changed to "F R E E that spells free, but the report we offer isn't actually."

New rules enacted under the Credit CARD Act of 2009 require companies offering credit report services to clearly state that strings are attached to their offers, according to moneycentral.msn.com. For example, freecreditreport.com now charges $1 for their credit report and has a disclaimer clarifying the fact that by ordering their credit report you've signed yourself up for a trial membership in their service Triple Advantage, which costs $14.95 a month until/unless you cancel it.

The ironic part is that if you just want to see what's in your credit report, there's no reason to pay for it. Freecreditreport.com is a subsidiary of Experian--one of the three nationwide credit reporting companies, along with Equifax and TransUnion. All three companies are already required by federal law to provide a no-strings-attached, free credit report to every American once per year. This service can be accessed through the U.S. government-approved website annualcreditreport.com. You can also get a free credit score calculated from TransUnion data at creditkarma.com.

Pay attention to what's in your credit report and what your credit score is. This information can make the difference between financial peace of mind and a massive headache. For more information about credit reports, look for the article Understanding Credit Reports: Maintain your reputation in the upcoming issue of brass (out May 1st).

 

Dawson

Wow... finally some truth in advertising. Thanks for keeping people up to date on what's really going on in the credit industry. I've been a fan of creditkarma.com for a little while, and I look forward to your upcoming article. Also, you smell good.

by Dawson on April 9, 2010
jensodegaard

You're welcome, Dawson. I'm pretty sure that you pointed creditkarma.com out to me initially, thanks.

--Jens

p.s. you smell good too.

by jensodegaard on April 12, 2010
Anonymous

If you have been turned down for any credit you can request a free report directly from the Big 3 just enclose a copy of the turndown

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by Anonymous on April 15, 2010
jensodegaard

Anonymous,

Thanks for the tip. For anyone else who is interested, here's the full Q and A from experian.com:

"Q: I hear I can get a free copy of my credit report if I’ve been turned down for a loan. How does that work?

A: Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), you may be entitled to receive a free copy of your personal credit report if you have received notice within the past 60 days that you have been declined credit, employment or housing or if adverse action has been taken against you based on information from Experian. You can order your free report online -->. Or call 1 866 200 6020. If you’re not eligible, some state laws require a free credit report or a lower fee for consumers in their states."

by jensodegaard on April 15, 2010

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