The Experian $1 credit report SCAM and truly FREE Experian reports

Today I noticed that Experian advertised $1 credit reports and scores for a LIMITED TIME.

View the screen shot of the Experian front page with the TOTALLY FALSE advertisement.

$1 for a credit report sounds like a great deal!

However, it’s just another credit bureau SCAM.

I clicked to order my “$ 1” report and filled out my personal info:

Screen shot — still looks great!

The next screen revealed the ugly truth:

There is NO $1 credit report, but you’re signing up for a $14.95 MONTHLY SUBSCRIPTION — unless you cancel within 7 days.

How hard is it to cancel?

VERY HARD.  I’ve had many clients complain that they were put on hold for a long time, they were disconnected, etc.

But that’s not the only scam, there’s MORE:

The reports are actually provided by Experian-owned ConsumerInfo.com.  The reports they provide are INCOMPLETE and contain LESS than half the data on the “real” Experian report.

In fact, they don’t even contain the EXPERIAN REPORT NUMBER — required to dispute by telephone and to get FREE reports at its site for 90 days.

Yup, that’s no typo.  Once you have a report number, you can get your almost complete Experian disclosure for 90 days at its site. Just click on the link to “Review Report Again” on the bottom of their front page.

The Experian report number is on all investigation results.   And you can also get it by PRETENDING to want to dispute online if you actually sign up for this scam.

So if you don’t already have an Experian report number (no older than 90 days) — and you don’t mind going through the hassle of canceling — sign up, get your free report, pretend to want to dispute online, get the “real” Experian report with the report number and then cancel right away.

WARNING:

Ignore the Experian credit scores.

They are NOT the scores most lenders are using — get your FICO scores if you NEED scores.

You can’t get your Experian FICO scores at myFICO.com anymore because they make even less sense than the Trans Union and Equifax scores.  The Experian credit reporting data is so flawed by DESIGN and they’d have to completely change their data fields — more on that another time.

Just IGNORE all Experian scores unless you get a copy of your mortgage credit report.

Why is Experian advertising this “limited time” offer?

It might have to do with new FTC regulations regarding these scams.  I haven’t read through the 22 pages of small print yet, but noticed extensive discussion of the “free” credit reports and the many consumer complaints.  The regulations will be effective 4/2/10 and I hope to soon find the time to go through this document.



4 Responses to “The Experian $1 credit report SCAM and truly FREE Experian reports”

  1. Thank you for exposing this! I got burned by the Experian $1 credit report scam. I had first gone to MyFICO.com to get reports from all 3 bureaus as I was about to seek a mortgage. Our lender had told us that Experian and TransUnion were the bureaus they typically checked with so it was important to get my Experian score. Much to my surprise, when I ordered the 3 bureau package, I was only able to get reports/scores from TransUnion & Equifax. There was no longer an option for Experian. However, I did get a credit to check my report & score again with the other two bureaus.

    I still needed that score, though, so I went to Experian’s site. Only $1 to get my credit report. Wow! That’s great…So I thought. I guess I’d heard that there was some law where everyone was supposed to be able to check their report for free through one of the bureaus…I wasn’t sure. I couldn’t remember, but I thought maybe it was through Experian and the $1 charge was for the score calculation. Fine. I submitted my info and then I hear that the $1 is to subscribe me to some $14.95 a month B.S. What?! Okay, so I could cancel free of charge within 7 days. All right…I’d get my score and then I’d do that.

    When I called to cancel, I was put through hell. The lady on the phone guilt tripped me continuously, made it seem like I was a careless, irresponsible person who didn’t CARE about my beloved credit score. I said “NO – PLEASE CANCEL THE SERVICE” continuously. After each rejection, I was given another spiel about how I should check my credit monthly. It took a long time on the phone just to cancel the membership. After all this, they STILL charged me $14.95! After watching the bank to make sure this charge did not show up again, I just let it slide. It’s sad that I would give up $14.95 in order to not have to endure the phone bank HELL that was the Experian call center.

    I am dismayed that lenders, etc. will continue to check credit through this bureau who measures the trustworthiness and responsibility of consumers…through completely dishonest, misleading, and untrustworthy means. I’m sorry, but shouldn’t the ones keeping permanent records on our trustworthiness be trustworthy themselves? Credit scoring should NOT be a big business. Something is really screwed up with our system.

  2. Thanks, Kelly, you did a great job describing the frustration many of us go through when trying to get our credit reports.

    I recently gave Experian a dollar to get my report because they refuse to provide me with the free annual report online. I know exactly what you mean by the their hard sell when you try to cancel. Fortunately they didn’t charge me for the subscription.

    “Something is really screwed up with our system.”

    You are so right and you have no idea HOW screwed up the system is. I just try to stay OUT of the system as much as possible.

    Good luck with your mortgage and be aware that the bankers and brokers make the credit bureaus look like saints. It’s a jungle out there!

  3. The Experian ad saying you can get access to your credit report and score for $1 is misleading and deceptive and is probably grounds for a class action lawsuit. If you signed up thinking you would only pay $1 and were later billed for their monthly service, you should call Webb, Klase & Lemond, LLC at 770-444-9325. They do a good job fighting scams like this.

  4. I just called Webb, Klase & Lemond and they ARE interested in these kinds of cases and it’s ok to contact them at the 770-444-9325.

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