2009-03-20 / Columnists

Notes On Consumer Affairs

Commentary By Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer

AUDREY PHEFFER AUDREY PHEFFER You, a family member or friend may have heard, and maybe even have danced along to, the wildly popular "free credit report dot com" songs about a hapless guy with credit problems who should have gone to "free credit report dot com" and checked his credit reports. These commercials are certainly catchy, but the singers would be wise to add another line to their songs disclosing the fact that the services offered on the website they promote are, in fact, not free. Like so many other supposedly free products and services, this offer is also too good to be true.

In order to receive the "free" credit reports offered by freecreditreport. com, consumers must enroll in a trial offer for a $14.95 a month credit monitoring service, which must be cancelled within seven days or the first monthly payment becomes due.

Many consumers have been duped by this deceptive offer, and despite recent enforcement actions against the website's operator, it continues to market its product and bombard consumers with advertisements.

AnnualCreditReport.com is the official website established for consumers to use to obtain their free annual credit reports pursuant to the federal Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act. In order to monitor their credit and guard against identity theft, it is recommended that consumers check their credit reports every year.

Remember, www.annualcreditreport.com is the ONLY website that offers truly free credit reports as required by federal law. You can also request copies of your free annual reports by calling 877-322-8228, or by completing the Annual Credit Report Request Form available at https://www.annualcreditreport.com/cra/ requestformfinal.pdf and mailing it to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.

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