Posted by: Kathy Griffin on Oct 23, 2009
The FTC seeks comments through November 30, 2009, on proposed amendments to the "Free Credit Report Rule", pertaining to those aggressive, deceptive, and irritating advertising and other practices by the credit bureaus. The proposed amendments require prominent disclosures on web, TV, Radio, and print, and prohibit several now-common practices; ie, hyperlinking the consumer to places where he will never find the Free Credit Report to which he is entitled; or requiring the consumer to first establish an account. The amendments go into effect in February 2010.
Although required by law to provide a free credit report each year to consumers, the Bureaus are taking unfair advantage of consumers who request their report by trying to upsell them more services, or worse, by tricking consumers into paying for a report they're entitled to get for free. The consumers they aim to take advantage of are the very ones trying to do their financially responsible duty, by staying on top of their credit history.
Reading the amendments is a dismaying history of escalating deceptive practices by the Bureaus. The FTC absolutely should stop these predatory practices. Legislation and regulatory oversight is essential, as is continuing financial education for consumers.
Knowing that they should periodically get and review their credit report is important, but knowing how is really useful.
Graduates of MoneyU have learned through simulations, for example,:
- How to get a free copy of their report every four months, and avoid unnecessary upsells
- How to read the report and identify errors, and
- How to get errors corrected.
MoneyU enrollees also learn the components of a credit score, and what clues in their credit report might indicate identity theft.