“Free” Reports Tied to Purchase of Other Products; Company to Provide Refunds to Consumers
Consumerinfo.com, Inc., doing business as Experian Consumer Direct, has settled Federal Trade Commission charges that it deceptively marketed “free credit reports” by not adequately disclosing that consumers automatically would be signed up for a credit report monitoring service and charged $79.95 if they didn’t cancel within 30 days, in violation of federal law. The settlement requires Consumerinfo to pay redress to deceived consumers, bars deceptive and misleading claims about “free” offers, requires disclosure of terms and conditions of any “free” offers, and requires the defendant to give up $950,000 in ill-gotten gains.
According to the FTC complaint, the defendant drove consumers to their www.freecreditreport.com and www.consumerinfo.com Web sites with radio, television, e-mail and Internet ads that promised free credit reports and a bonus – free trials of a credit-monitoring service. Ads made claims such as:
FREE! FREE! FREE! Get Your FREE Credit Report Online in Seconds!!!!
Click here to get a FREE copy of your online Credit Report Instantly!
And that’s not all. . . along with your INSTANT credit report, we’ll give
you 30 FREE days of the Credit Check Monitoring Service at no obligation.
Commission Alleges False and Deceptive Marketing Practices
The Federal Trade Commission has charged an employment-opportunity scammer and his three companies with marketing a fraudulent U.S. Postal Service employment program. The program offered consumers help in getting jobs with the Postal Service and guaranteed them job placement if they were able to get a certain score on the Service’s entrance exam. In reality, jobs, or even the opportunity to apply for jobs, were not available through the defendants. For many consumers, the advertised postal jobs were not available in their area at all.