A Wisconsin college student filed a class-action complaint against Experian this week, claiming that the company's ubiquitous ads for FreeCreditReport.com led her to believe she could use the site to get a no-cost credit report.
Go figure! Someone believed that FreeCreditReport means you can get a free credit report? What are the odds!?
It's such an exquisite pleasure to watch this bogus company go down; let's hope this suit sticks.
Update June 2010:
It's probably been a month or two (or three or four) since this happened, but as a result of the lawsuit, the FTC has required them to put a giant banner on the top of their website saying essentially that they're full of it. Granted, the site should just have been shut down, but it's still nice to see.
Hard to sell your supposedly free reports now isn't it?
Looking back from 2019:
The FTC filed their own lawsuit and won, but the measly ~1 million fine was so much less than the $72 Million they could afford just for theirdeceptive ad campaign, it just goes to show that founding a company in fraud is a solid business strategy. But I suppose it's not all bad… there was brand new legislation passed as a result of their scam:
The advertising practices of FreeCreditReport.com were specifically addressed in the Credit CARD Act of 2009. Now any company who advertises a 'free credit report' on TV or radio must include the statement: "This is not the free credit report provided for by Federal law." The law also calls for the Federal Trade Commission to issue new rules that will force free credit report advertisers to inform consumers that the only place for a free credit report is AnnualCreditReport.com.
On a lighter note, the Federal Trade Commission was so fed up with Freecreditreport.com, they made these awesome spoof videos:
On its Web site, www.lifelock.com, the company reports that it places requests for fraud alerts with credit bureaus on behalf of its clients. “If someone is trying to use your personal information, you will be contacted by the creditor that is issuing the line of credit, ? LifeLock says.
“If you receive a call and you are not the one applying for credit, the transaction should be stopped immediately. ?
But creditors are not required to contact applicants even if they have fraud alerts in their files, says the Pasternak lawsuit. The Experian lawsuit makes a similar argument. The Pasternaks also blast LifeLock’s $1 million guarantee, claiming that the fine print renders it virtually worthless.