I got some criticism via a comment posted by one of my heroes. I wrote the following response, then deleted it. It felt icky to be defensive. He is entitled to his opinion. Hopefully his opinion of me isn’t affected.

re: FreeCreditReport.com

The name is troublesome, I agree. And something I have discussed at length with my contact there.

They give you a $15 credit report with FICA score, for free, if you sign up for a trial of their credit watch service. If you don’t cancel after a week, then you are billed (recurring) for the service.
But none of the fees are hidden in fine print.

It is much like the stamps.com service that the USPS runs. Or nearly every adult website. A free trial becomes a recurring paid service if you don’t cancel.

There is some confusion because you can get a free credit report from the government (linked from the Freecreditreport.com home page) . But the proprietary credit SCORE costs $12-20 no matter what. FreeCreditReport.com allows you to get that score free, when you sign up for a trial.
If you are a new to free trials and recurring billing it is easy to be confused. (Hell, I am very familiar with this stuff and I accidentally paid the USPS $180 over the last year because I forgot I ordered a sample back of print-at-home stamps)

NOTE: I am not an official rep of the company. But I have signed up and canceled the service as well as looked into a number of complaints. I found it to be confusing at times, but no more shady than anyone that uses free trials and recurring billing.

  • Kat

    I didnt even consider it offensive but rather factual. Basically put, “Its not a scam. It just is something that you must be responsible for watching (which is what finding your credit score is about) and being sure to cancel.” So many people are being spoonfed “set it and forget it” services so is it any wonder that people have lost sight into actually looking at their bank statements, watching their finances, and keeping mental notes of services that they have signed up for.

    Just my 2 cents

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