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Attorneys General Call For End Of Deceptive Marketing Practices For “Free Credit Reports”

Consumers are Misled about How to Access Their Free Credit Report

Washington, DC---The “free” credit report ads consumers have been seeing must be changed according to comments signed by 43 Attorneys General and filed by the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG). The comments, drafted by the Illinois Attorney General’s office, were sent Dec. 7 to the Federal Trade Commission in response to the proposed amendments to the Rule to Prevent Deceptive Marketing of Credit Reports and to Ensure Access to Free Annual File Disclosures.

Attorneys General are charged with enforcing state law to protect consumers from unfair and deceptive business practices. Consumers have been complaining to Attorneys General offices about specific Web sites and companies that advertise “free” credit reports because they had to purchase a service or product. For example, consumers are complaining they did not understand that by accessing their “free” credit report, they had signed up for a service that automatically charged a specific amount per month for credit monitoring.

State Attorneys General seek to protect the consumer’s right to have one free credit report a year, according to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act. That free report can be obtained through www.AnnualCreditReport.com or by calling toll free to 877-322-8228.

“We believe that advertising restrictions and mandatory disclosures are necessary to ensure that consumers are not misled or confused by advertisements and offers for “free” credit reports, and are able to easily obtain their free annual credit reports,” the comments state.

The NAAG comments request specific disclosure language to appear in television, radio and print ads, including “This is not the free credit report provided for by Federal law. To get your free report, visit www.AnnualCreditReport.com or call 877-322-8228.”

To view a copy of the NAAG comments and its signatories, go to the NAAG Web site:

http://www.naag.org/sign-on_archive.php

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