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Experian Hit With Lawsuit Over Baggage That Comes With 'Free' Credit Report

Free-credit-report-not-free-2 From my "about damn time" file comes this report from the Huffington Post about a new lawsuit filed against credit-reporting agency Experian over advertisements for its service.

The plaintiff, a college student named Erica Possin, had seen the catchy ads for and used it to check her credit before buying a new car. She received her "free" credit report but, just like me, also failed to notice that this "free" report came with a $14.95 monthly credit monitoring service. Also just like me, Possin noticed a few months later that she was being charged a monthly fee that she did not realize she had agreed to. When I complained, Experian refunded my money and canceled my "membership" in the monitoring service.

Possin is now leading a putative class of "tens of thousands of consumers deceived by Experian's to the tune of millions of fraudulently obtained profits." Her attorney, John Balestriere, says that " tells people they will get something for free, and you do, but you have to pay for something else, and there's not sufficient notice." The complaint alleges that nobody goes to for anything but a free credit report. In other words, the HuffPo reports, "nobody goes there looking for the 'Triple Advantage' credit monitoring service, which is mentioned in a hushed, rushed tone at the end of the ads as a condition of a previous FTC settlement."

Last week, an Experian spokeswoman defended the ads, stating that " is a trusted partner for millions of Americans who want more than a free credit report." We make it very clear to consumers visiting the site that the free credit report and score is part of enrollment in the Triple Advantage Credit Monitoring and that if they don't cancel their membership within the seven-day trial period, they will be billed monthly."

"Very clear?" Ms. Possin and I beg to differ!

Posted by Bruce Carton on February 9, 2010 at 11:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (7)


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