New Rules Designed to Help Consumers Avoid Confusion
Wallingford, CT - June 15, 2010 – Not all offers for a free credit report are created equal. Under a new Federal Trade Commission (FTC) rule, companies advertising “free credit reports” are obliged to include a prominent disclosure to differentiate their services from those of the free, government-sanctioned AnnualCreditReport.com
Before the change, advertisers offered a free credit report with strings attached: consumers would have to pay for credit monitoring or other services in order to qualify.
However, under the first phase of the FTC’s Free Credit Reports Rule that went into effect April 2, 2010, Web sites will have to prominently display the following disclosure at the top of any page that mentions “free” credit reports:
THIS NOTICE IS REQUIRED BY LAW. Read more at FTC.GOV.
You have the right to a free credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com
or 877-322-8228, the ONLY authorized source under federal law.
The disclosure also must include a clickable button to “Take me to the authorized source,” as well as links to AnnualCreditReport.com
Connecticut Better Business Bureau President, Paulette Scarpetti, says the new rule forces the advertisers to include important information for consumers who want to keep their financial house in order.
“Transparency is inherently consumer-friendly, and this new rule requires clarity in advertising for credit monitoring products and services.”
A second phase will take effect in September requiring a similar disclosure in related television and radio advertising.
Because information contained in credit reports may be used to determine whether an individual will be hired for a job or obtain a line of credit, it is important that consumers check their credit reports and correct any inaccurate information.
Aside from AnnualCreditReport.com
, each of the three national credit reporting agencies, Experian, Equifax
is required to provide a free copy of consumers’ credit reports every 12 months.
Consumers can find more information about their right to a free credit report on the FTC Web site, http://www.ftc.gov/freereports,
and learn more about managing finances at bbb.org