FTC Takes on 'Free' Credit Report Minstrels

Latest showdown between Feds and credit bureau goes viral
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 3, 2009 10:44 AM CST

(Newser) – A long-running battle between the Federal Trade Commission and credit bureau Experian has blossomed into a viral video showdown of sorts. Experian runs FreeCreditReport.com—beneficiary of the cheeky slacker music video/ads. The FTC thinks—rightly, in the opinion of many—that the company is intentionally diverting consumers from the actual free reports on AnnualCreditReport.com. So they made some videos, too.

Turns out Experian will give you that free report on the condition that you sign up for its monthly monitoring service, which makes them money and does you little good. “Does the average person really need to see their credit reports more than once every four months?” an advocate asks the New York Times, citing the frequency of free reports mandated by law. “That’s paranoia.” Of course, most consumers get wise to the uselessness of monitoring sooner or later, hence the ubiquitous ads, and the FTC riposte.
(Read more Federal Trade Commission stories.)