The FTC Fires Back at “Free” Credit Report Ads

By Kiran Aditham 

We’ve all seen the ads (ad nauseum) where slacker types put their financial woes to song while riding a roller coaster, dressed as pirates or driving a lemon. But the biggest crime of these so-called hilarious ads isn’t the fact that the guys can’t really sing or play their instruments.

The FTC claims that companies like parent Experian are diverting people from getting free, once-a-year reports on a government-mandated website and instead luring them to pay $14.95 a month for credit status changes they most likely don’t need. Specifically, critics say that monitoring services are worthless for the majority of consumers whose credit status doesn’t fluctuate dramatically or quickly.

The New York Times reports that as a result, the government has launched spoof ads like the one below that’s pretty similar to those put out by Experian, the biggest player in the credit monitoring market according to the NYT but one that’s had to fork over $1.25 million to settle FTC charges in recent years.


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