Talk About FreeCreditReport.Com
Dozens of people have written in about our topic, "FreeCreditReport.com is a Rip Off."
We've heard from lots of people tricked into paying for the service- for several years in more than one case!
Customer service reps from FreeCreditReport.com have their say. They universally blame the customer for not reading the fine print- often in a mean-spirited way.
One woman ripped off by FreeCreditReport.Com even offers a prayer for their souls.
Do you have a FreeCreditReport.com story? Send it in below.
Add Your Voice
Read Comments from Other People
CIC Triple Advantage: Persistence Pays Off
Lisa, December 20, 2006
I made it very clear that I knew I was cheated. I made it very clear that all other agencies had been contacted as well as my VISA company.
I told them I was unhappy and wanted a full refund.
If I do not get results as promised I will continue to pursue it until I do.
Also, I recognize my part in all of this.
I will NEVER fall for another one of those FREE offer websites again. I will never give visa, soc. security or mother's maiden name again on a website. I made a mistake in doing this and paid the price in time, energy, money and the valuable time of others who now must deal with these complaints.
Once...shame on them.
Twice...shame on me.
I have hopefully learned my lesson and was not stung too badly.
Out a lot of money.
Not this time.
I am grateful for that.
CIC Triple Advantage is a fraudulent web site that preys on unsuspecting internet browsers.
Re: CIC Triple Advantage: Persistence Pays Off
Jeff (Editor) , December 20, 2006
Lisa was promised a full refund by CIC Triple Advantage (the business name used by Experian's freecreditreport.com).
We encourage anyone who is surprised by a mysterious charge on their credit card a month after obtaining their "free" credit report from freecreditreport.com to file a complaint with the FTC.
If CIC TripleAdvantage refuses to refund your money, call your credit card company. They will reverse the charge as long as you make the request within 60 days of the unauthorized charge.
Sue 'Em! Join a Class Action Lawsuit Against CIC TripleAdvantage
John W. Davis, Esq., March 16, 2007
For those of you who do not already know, Consumerinfo.com has cut a sweetheart deal with some lawyers from Alabama. They are seeking approval of the deal in a San Jose court in July. If you want to participate, you must indicate your intent before May 15, 2007.
If you would like someone to represent you at the hearing (at no cost to you), please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. By participating with your own counsel, you have the opportunity to improve the settlement and get a substantially better result than the bogus "relief" currently offered by Consumerinfo.com.
Please contact me if you purchased and paid for a credit score or credit monitoring from Consumerinfo.com or an Experian Entity between June 17, 1998, and December 27, 2006.
Re: Sue 'Em! Join a Class Action Lawsuit Against CIC TripleAdvantage
Jeff (Editor) , March 17, 2007
Thanks for writing and offering to help consumers who have beendefrauded by Experian.
In the "Deceptive Practices" article of this topic, we discuss thislawsuit and insulting relief being offered to consumers. With theattorneys walking away with $2.5 million dollars in fees, it seemsthey putting their own interests ahead of the consumers they claim to be representing.
If you believe you can do better, I would certainly like to extend theoffer to readers of Knowzy.
For the record, will you answer some questions that I'm sure ourreaders would like to know?
- How did you come to be involved in negotiating a better dealfor litigants of this class action lawsuit against CIC?
- What type of deal will you be fighting for on behalf of consumers who you represent?
- What kind of time or financial obligations, if any, are required should you represent them?
- By objecting to the settlement reached between Experian and the Alabama lawyers, is there a risk of losing the free credit score or two months or credit monitoring? (Certainly not much of a loss!)
- When our readers choose to have you represent them, what is the process?
- May we publish the name of your law practice and contact information?
Thank you for helping victims of Experian's deception get the fair deal they deserve.
Re: Sue 'Em! Join a Class Action Lawsuit Against CIC TripleAdvantage
John W. Davis, Esq., March 18, 2007
Thank you for your inquiry. The responses to your questions follow:
1. How did you come to be involved in negotiating a better deal for litigants of this class action lawsuit against CIC?
I am presently litigating a class action lawsuit against consumerinfo.com concerning the same unfair business practices addressed in the San Jose case. I have been in litigation, along with my co-counsel firm in San Francisco, with CIC for approximately 5 years.
One reason our case is still pending is that, unlike the plaintiffs represented by the Alabama lawyers, our clients refuse to accept de minimis relief for the class. As you noted, in the San Jose case, class members stand to receive a free credit score or two months of credit monitoring while the attorneys walk away with 2.5 million. This type of settlement if objectionable on many levels.
The real value is virtually zero. It costs Experian nothing to provide this "relief." Moreover, as many of your readers may know, consumers are now entitled, under federal law, to a free credit report each year from each of the three major credit bureaus.
Additionally, many class members have suffered actual damages such as a deceptive charge of 79.95 for a product which was marketed as "free." The FTC has already fined CIC for this. Liability is relatively clear.
What we have with the settlement proposed by the Alabama lawyers is essentially a payoff by CIC to these attorneys to help extinguish all liability associated with CIC's bad acts.
2. What type of deal will you be fighting for on behalf of consumers who you represent?
We seek to recover restitution of actual damages for the class. In other words, CIC must give back the profits of its unlawful enterprise.
Obviously, you rarely obtain 100% relief in any litigation. However, CIC must be held accountable and compelled to provide some real relief to the class beyond a "free" credit report (already available through annualcreditreport.com as mandated by the federalgovernment) or its worthless two free months of credit monitoring.
The settlement proposed by the Alabama lawyers is essentially a "coupon" settlement of the type that has been widely derided by courts, legal experts, and commentators in recent years.
3. What kind of time or financial obligations, if any, are required should you represent them?
There is no financial obligation. If we are able to negotiate an enhanced settlement for the class, we will petition the court for an award of fees based on the time we spend on the case. Any fee award will be entirely separate from any fund created for the benefit of the class. In other words, the class recovery will not be diminished by the payment of any fee to us.
As for a time commitment, I will only need a brief statement from each class member outlining the circumstances surrounding his or her loss (e.g. when did they order the "free" credit report, how many times were they charged, how much were they charged, ...). This information may be provided to me by email.Based on that information, I will prepare a declaration for the class member's signature.
The commitment of time would be minimal. Of course, each class member may participate as much or as little as they like.
Additionally, we are always available to answer questions about the case, or consumers' rights pursuant to the settlement.
4. By objecting to the settlement reached between Experian and the Alabama lawyers, is there a risk of losing the free credit score or two months or credit monitoring? (Which is certainly not much of a loss!)
The "relief" currently offered under the settlement could come off the table if the court refuses to approve the settlement as structured. However, at that point, the parties merely go back to the drawing board and attempt to craft a new settlement which will meet with the court's approval. Meanwhile, we will continue to pursue our separate class action in Orange County.
In any event, while there may be some delay, consumers will ultimately find themselves in a better position if the court disapproves this horrendous settlement. Alternatively, if enough class members object to the proposed settlement, the parties may be willing to offer additional relief prior to seeking court approval in order to ensure that the deal goes through and avoid additional litigation.
5. When our readers choose to have you represent them, what is the process?
Class members need only to send an email expressing their desire for my firm to represent them along with a brief statement detailing their experience with CIC. I will then prepare a declaration and either mail it or fax it to them for their review and signature. I will file all declarations along with a comprehensive objection with the court.
The papers are due on or before May 15 so time is of the essence here.
According to the class notice, objections should contain a class member's name, address, phone number, and last four digits of social security number. If class members are uncomfortable providing any of this information, we can object to that portion of the notice.
6. May we publish the name of your law practice and contact info?
Yes. Any class member who has questions about the settlement may contact me fee free.
Law Office of John W. Davis
4445 Eastgate Mall, Second Floor
San Diego, CA 92121
Complain to the Attorney General about CIC TripleAdvantage
Gary, May 5, 2007
I'm going to write a letter to the CA State Attorney General about this company. I
suggest that everyone with this problem should do this also. If they get enough
letters they may help us all.
Re: Complain to the Attorney General about CIC TripleAdvantage
Jeff (Editor) , May 7, 2007
I think this is an excellent idea. ConsumerInfo.com (CIC) is a California company and the AG should have some sway. I would be happy to publish your letter here to help inspire other readers to write letters.
The California Attorney General's web site has an online form that makes filing a complaint easy.
Also consider filing a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). They have jurisdiction over the credit agencies (CIC TripleAdvantage is owned by Experian, one of the three credit agencies).
Thanks for being a vigilant consumer.
Send CIC TripleAdvantage Execs to Jail!
Jake, May 11, 2007
I signed up for the TripleAdvatage credit report through FreeCreditReport.com after watching several commercials on TV. I signed up for the free trial and forgot about the trial. Well it recurred 1 month and I got charged for 1 month of, $12.95. No biggie.
I tried to cancel the account by calling 877-481-6825, and according to the rep, the account was canceled. Well after couple months later, I realized it never got cancelled! I call the same number 877-481-6825 but it was always busy or gave me message saying there was no one there.
I managed to get the number of the parent company, ConsumerInfo.com (1-888-888-8553). According to the rep at this number, I did call the previous rep before, but I never cancelled the account. She said according to the record, I wanted to continue the service.
What the hell!? Why would i call the rep just to say I want to continue the service??? Well this time she assured the account is canceled and she even gave me a reference number, and said I will get a confirmation email.
Overall I got charged 12.95 five times for getting to view my "free credit report" once.
Re: Send CIC TripleAdvantage Execs to Jail!
Jeff (Editor) , May 11, 2007
I'm surprised they actually made a record of your call. Usually white-collar criminals try not to leave a paper trail!
If you want to help put the people behind CIC TripleAdvantage in jail, you should file a report with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
It just amazes me that the FTC allows this pattern of brazen fraud to continue. Yourstory is all too typical. It has happened to me personally. It would take very little effort to set up a sting operation to catch CIC "forgetting" to cancel these free trials.
The more complaints the FTC receives, the more they will be forced into action.
Why is the FTC Asking for My Social Security Number?
Frederick, June 7, 2007
I had this problem with this God forsaken company. I called them countless times, cancelled half a dozen times only to be continually billed each month.
The only way I was able to stop them from billing me was fill out a fraud report with my bank and close the account. As you can imagine there were some repercussions that came from that but I was sick and tired of paying them money for absolutely nothing.
Do yourself a favor and cancel your account now...
BTW, I was going to fill out the form from the FTC but it wants my social security number...Why do they need my SSN to fill out a complaint?
Re: Why is the FTC Asking for My Social Security Number?
Jeff (Editor) , June 7, 2007
That's an extraordinary story and you certainly should go on record with the FTC. I don't
think you are required to provide your Social Security number to file a complaint (just leave the space blank).
Here is the FTC's explanation on cases where you need to supply your SSN when filing a complaint:
If your complaint is about the accuracy of your credit file at Equifax, Experian, or
Trans Union, the FTC may send it to the credit bureau, consistent with a new federal law.
For such a complaint, please provide the following:
- Your Social Security number
- "Yes" or "No" answer to the question "Have you already disputed with the creditbureau(s)?" and
- a "Yes," "No" or "Don't Know" to the question "Did you dispute more than 45 days ago?"
The FTC does not normally ask for Social Security numbers, and we advise you to be
careful with all your personal information - especially your Social Security number. We
are asking for a Social Security number here, however, because this information will
assist the credit bureau(s) in resolving your complaint.
Notice the phrase, "If the complaint is about the accuracy of your credit file..." Thereis nothing in your credit report that you are disputing. You are complaining thatTripleAdvantage would not release you from the credit monitoring service.
If you are concerned about providing the government with your SSN, just leave that fieldblank. But please, please report this! They need to hear that Triple Advantage ignored multiple calls to cancelthe service.
When is the Next Class Action Lawsuit Against CIC Triple Advantage?
Winona, June 17, 2007
I too have been scammed by these folks. I finally got thru on their number and canceled this AGAIN. I have been charged 3 times now since March and she said she could refund me one month of service but no more. THIS IS A TOTAL RIPOFF!!!
If there is a class action suit, I'm in. I can't believe what these people get away with and just to check your credit report. Shame on them...but someone has got to stop them.
My email does not depict how I feel right now! [Winona's e-mail address indicates that she is a happy person.]
Re: When is the Next Class Action Lawsuit Against CIC Triple Advantage?
Jeff (Editor) , June 18, 2007
You just missed the most recent class action lawsuit against CIC Triple Advantage. But
I'm sure it won't be long before another one forms!
You can probably get the rest of you money back by calling your credit card company. Be sure to file a complaint with the FTC to make sure this fraud doesn't go unreported.
Learn more about each of these steps in our new article: Canceling CIC Triple Advantage: Stop the Charges, Get Your Money Back and Get Justice!
Don't worry. Soon you will put this whole episode behind you and your mood will once
again match your e-mail address!
I Don't Remember Giving Them My Credit Card Number!
Dave, July 5, 2007
I noticed $12.95 charged to my Visa Card. I had no idea what it was for. If it was this "free credit report" I don't even recall giving out my credit card number. That is not like me. I don't know how they got the number at all. I do remember viewing my credit report.
Re: I Don't Remember Giving Them My Credit Card Number!
Jeff (Editor) , July 6, 2007
Don't feel bad. FreeCreditReport.com is designed to trick you into thinking you are
simply getting a free credit report and score. Unless you really dig into the fine print,
you don't even realize you are signing up for a credit monitoring service.
Indeed, most people who visit the site don't even know what a credit monitoring service
This is what it says above the "Credit Card Information" section of the form when you
Your credit card will not be charged during the free trial period. However, valid credit
card information is required to establish your account.
My guess is that you thought the "free trial" was the credit report. Since you only
wanted one credit report, this didn't raise any red flags.
Hopefully you got a refund and alerted the FTC as described in our Step-By-Step guide: Canceling CIC Triple Advantage: Stop the Charges, Get Your Money Back and Get Justice.
And, of course, you know where to go the next time you want to look at your credit report
for free: http://www.annualcreditreport.com
Thanks for writing.
I figured they would just give me a free credit report, but they took my personal info and charged me for it!
So, I get through sign up and THEN they tell me they are going to snail mail me my login information within ten days. Well, it took several days for the charges to appear, but well over ten days and still no login information!
Thank GOD(s) knowzy.com had a tutorial on how to cancel - it helped a lot! Surprisingly only five minutes (4:45) on the phone and the CSR is canceling the service.
Re: Thanks for Canceling TripleAdvantage Tutorial
Jeff (Editor) , July 12, 2007
I'm very happy to hear you found our tutorial useful.
I used to provide this information personally to each person who wrote in. After a while,
it became quite repetitive. That's when I decided to write the definitive "How to Cancel
I'm glad you got your money back without too much hassle. However, your experience with
this company is quite different than most people's (including my own).
Typically, the scam works like this: You provide your personal information plus your
credit card number and you get your free credit report and score instantly online. Then,
30 days later, after your visit to FreeCreditReport.com is a distant memory, they charge
your card using the company name CIC TripleAdvantage.
I'm curious as to why your experience was so different.
Re: Thanks for Canceling TripleAdvantage Tutorial
S H, July 13, 2007
The CSR I spoke with DID try to steer me towards retaining the service, but English was not his primary language and I
interrupted him at key times using the language in your tutorial. I've been a CSR myself so I was ready for his hyjinx.
It's still to early to tell if they'll unsubscribe me, they probably will keep my first $12.99, but I'm sure that there
being many complaints against them helped changed their internal policies - thanks to people like you!
Thanks very much - I hate thief companies.
CIC Stands for Cashing In on Consumers!
Beth S., July 16, 2007
I received my credit card statement today and listed was a $12.00 charge for CIC Triple Advantage. Curious I called my credit card company who gave me their number, 877-481-6825. I was on hold the first time for 24 minutes and then disconnected, the second time for 18 minutes before someone picked up. I was on the line for nearly 30 minutes with a representative that told me all of the wonderful features that www.freecreditreport.com had to offer with this Triple Advantage service. None of the reps reasons were informative nor useful. After a long battle of discussing why my card was charged for a supposed free service, the rep finally cancelled my supposed membership.
The government offers you one copy per year of your credit report via the web at www.annualcreditreport.com, there is no charge or fee involved. No potential charges for credit monitoring.
Also, according to the rep, they can only charge your card, they cannot refund your money.
When you put all of this together, it makes one wonder, they call it, FREE, but trick you into being charged, then they can only take money from you, they cannot give a refund, makes one suspicious.
Consumers beware of CIC, they're only looking to cash in on people.
Re: CIC Stands for Cashing In on Consumers!
Jeff (Editor) , July 17, 2007
What a poignant cautionary tale and I love the new nickname!
I only hope you will follow it up with an equally compelling complaint to the Federal Trade Commission. You would be doing the public a great service by adding your voice to chorus of citizens complaining about this company.
The FTC has fined Experian twice for a total of $2.5 million over the deceptive
advertising tactics used at FreeCreditReport.com. However, I see that squeaky-clean
spokeskid on TV every day bragging that over 20 million people have "checked" their
credit report at FreeCreditReport.com.
The numbers speak for themselves: They haven't been fined enough!
Call TripleAdvantage Early in the Morning!
April, July 27, 2007
I've been trying to contact CIC Triple Advantage for several weeks, but I never had the patience to stay on the phone much past 10 minutes, especially on my shared work phone. I spoke to my bank (although they were sympathetic about the shady practices, they refused to cancel the charges since I technically did "authorize" them), and they informed me that they've had numerous complaints and suggested that I call CIC in the morning to cancel. I called today at 8:30 PDT, and was put through to a representative immediately! YAY! One for the good guys!
But... as others have mentioned, the CIC rep went on about the benefits of their service, and knowing that this argument was coming, I prepared a curt interruption that got my subscription canceled and one month refund on the spot. "I don't appreciate you trying to strong-arm me into keeping this misleading, unwanted service. Please cancel my membership and refund my money. Now."
The rep said that she was only authorized to refund one month's fees, and I asked to be transferred to her supervisor or someone who had more authority for refunds. No such person exists, but she gave me their address and a reference number, but no assurance of a refund.
The address is:
PO Box 19729
Irvine, CA 92623-9727
I've attempted to contact the FTC about this matter when I read a post on this site, but the FTC's complaint submission site is currently down. Rest assured, I'll keep trying!
Thanks for putting the word out to the rest of the good guys!
Re: Call TripleAdvantage Early in the Morning!
Jeff (Editor) , July 30, 2007
Thanks for sharing your story and the tip about the best time to call CIC Triple
The question of whether you authorized the charges can be subjective and some
banks are better than others at taking your side.
You came to the site for a free credit report. If you thought you were going to be
charged for it, you wouldn't have taken the "free" credit report.
So did you authorize the charges? I would argue that you did not. When it happened to me,
CapitalOne took my side and refunded the money. It's unfortunate that your bank didn't.
By the way, I just checked and the FTC complaint form is back up.
Canceled and got Refund in 5 Minutes. What's the Problem?
Chris, August 5, 2007
I had a charge on my statement for $12.95. I called to verify cancellation and seek
refund. I got both. In less than 5-minutes on the phone. No problems for me.
Re: Canceled and got Refund in 5 Minutes. What's the Problem?
Jeff (Editor) , August 5, 2007
It refreshing to hear from someone who received an efficient refund.
It sounds like you cut their sales pitch very short!
A few questions about your experience with FreeCreditReport.com, if you don't mind:
- How soon did you cancel after noticing the charge?
- What time of day did you call TripleAdvantage?
- Did the charge on your credit card surprise you or did you know about the 30 daytrial period when you signed up?
It sounds like you canceled immediately after you discovered the charge. If so, good for
you! This is, by far, the best and easiest way to rid yourself of the TripleAdvangate
7 Months of Charges. Is There Hope for a Refund?
Rita, August 6, 2007
For the past seven months I've seen a charge of $12.95 with *CIC Tripleadvantage next to
At first I thought they were some kind of charge by the credit card and I called
the credit card company. They said it was not their billing. Then I looked up the
CIC Triple****whatever online and just found out that it is a terrible company.
I called the number provided and they hung up on me. That made me furious! I called my
credit card company and decided to block them. Now they are considered an unauthorized
I'm going to file a complaint with the FTC and BBB. I know they are not goingto give me my money back because they have made a lot of money from me in the last few
I want to know how to get my money back for charges for the last 7 months.
Re: 7 Months of Charges. Is There Hope for a Refund?
Jeff (Editor) , August 6, 2007
That's one expensive free credit report! The good news is, now that you have alerted your
bank, TripleAdvantage cannot continue to charge you. The bad news is TripleAdvantage is
probably going to end up keeping most of your money.
Your bank is required by law to refund any unauthorized charges to your credit card in
the last 60 days. If you can convince your bank that you did not authorize these charges,
you can a refund of the last two months charges.
Since the bank didn't offer to refund your money when you called, this may be a losing
battle. But it's still worth a try.
It's good to hear that you plan on filing a complaint the with FTC and Better Business
Bureau. You are rightfully furious and getting on record with the FTC will help ensure CIC Triple Advantage doesn't get away with it.
There are two lessons here that you have no doubt learned: The first, contact your bank
immediately when you notice a suspicious charge on your credit card statement. The
second, when you want to look at your credit report for free, pay a visit to the
Canceling and Refund Easy for Me Too
Kevin, August 13, 2007
They charged me one time for 12.95. I just called them this morning and got canceled and a refund in 5 minutes, without hard selling. For those who call, do not forget to ask for a reference code for the refund.
Re: Canceling and Refund Easy for Me Too
Jeff (Editor), August 13, 2007
You're the second person in a week to report that canceling was easy and took only five minutes. Your letter seems to confirm two things:
- Call CIC TripleAdvantage early in the morning
- Call as soon as you see the charge on your credit card. Do not wait for another month to pass
One question for you, Kevin: Did you know you were going to be charged or was the charge on your credit card a surprise to you?
5 Months of Refunds in 5 Minutes!
Doug Moushey, August 14, 2007
I had no trouble. This stupid thing had sat on my account for 5 months without me noticing.
I called and sat on hold for maybe 5 minutes, and then asked for a refund and cancellation. I was told that the person could only refund 2 months worth of fees, and that for further refunds I'd have to be put on hold again. I was mad, so I said put me on hold. Surprisingly, all of 15 seconds later the manager confirmed a total refund and cancellation, so no worries.
Frankly, I thought that their customer service was pretty good. I called at 9:00 eastern time, so apparently calling early isn't absolutely necessary.
Since Jeff asked it, I didn't realize that I was going to be charged, and if I had I would have been a lot better about stopping it sooner. My stupid fault.
Re: 5 Months of Refunds in 5 Minutes!
Jeff (Editor), August 14, 2007
That's amazing! I have never heard a tale of TripleAdvantage being so generous (relatively speaking). You must be one smooth talker!
The reason I consistently ask if people who write in if were surprised by these charges is to determine if they have been defrauded by TripleAdvantage.
The ad you clicked on or saw on TV mentions nothing about a credit monitoring service. FreeCreditReport.com doesn't extol the virtues of its service upfront. On the contrary, FreeCreditReport.com goes to great lengths to conceal any mention of the service.
If their entire business is based on the CIC TripleAdvantage credit monitoring service, why are they so reluctant to tell you what you're getting into?
Maybe you could have seen through the scam if you had looked more carefully or done some research beforehand. However, you have the right live your life without being suspicious and distrustful of every offer made in an advertisement.
Obviously the real world is not without such deceptive advertising. When those companies rip off the American consumer, the Federal Trade Commission steps in. But they do so only after they have been alerted.
Even Company Name on Credit Card Statement is Misleading
Doug Moushey, August 20, 2007
I noticed on my credit card statement a charge of $12.95 a month was being taken out of my account. I had always assumed that it was my finance charges through my credit card.
I talked with my bank about it and they said that the charges weren't from them. I looked into it more and found out that it had been taken out of my account since 5/24/2005, 2 years and 3 months ago.
So I called the number I found on this web site, and the rude representative told me the most they could do is refund 2 months, and canceled it. She went on and on about how I was protected from this and that, and that I must of went to freecreditreport.com and signed up for it. I wouldn't of agreed to all of that!
I don't remember going on that site, but it is a possibility that I did.
Over the twenty seven months they charged $349.65 on my credit card. I want my money back and all of it!
I called my bank and they told me that they could get up to four months of it back, but no more.
What do I have to do to get my money back? I feel like a victim of fraud. If you have any ideas of what to do next please tell me! Thanks for your time!
Re: Even Company Name on Credit Card Statement is Misleading
Jeff (Editor), August 20, 2007
Make no mistake about it: You have been a victim of fraud. What's worse is you will likely never recover the rest of that $350. But you can do your part to make sure TripleAdvantage is brought to justice.
Experian (parent company of FreeCreditReport.com and CIC TripleAdvantage) has already been fined a total of $1.25 million. They have settled class-action lawsuit after class-action lawsuit.
You are a party to the most recent class action lawsuit. However, the settlement is likely to infuriate you further.
When this lawsuit settles, you will be entitled to two free months of credit monitoring. Fail to cancel it after two months and the $12.95 charges start again!
By the way, the attorneys who negotiated this settlement (supposedly on your behalf) are walking away with $2.5 million in attorney's fees.
The time has passed to object to this settlement. It is my understanding that by not objecting, you have given up all right to sue them, even in small claims court.
This is a terrible company running misleading advertising and is apparently still quite profitable despite the lawsuits and fines. Don't let them get away with it. Make sure the government knows you have been defrauded: File a complaint with the FTC.
Rep. Claimed I Called to Continue Service!
Dave, August 22, 2007
I first signed up to receive the credit report and service in June and then promptly canceled my membership the very same day I enrolled. Surprisingly, I noticed a $12.95 charge on my credit card this month. I called again and told them I had canceled long ago and should not be charged for a service that I explicitly canceled.
At first, the service rep made the outrageous claim that I had somehow agreed to continue my membership at the end of my cancellation call. After I shot that down she agreed to cancel the membership (and sent a confirmation email) but refused to drop the $12.95 charge, saying that I had "used" the service recently (I did log in to see if I could get confirmation of my cancellation 2 months ago, but after seeing that I couldn't, I stopped trying and certainly did not view a credit report of any kind or "use" their services).
I have no idea that they would simply refuse to honor my first cancellation request.
Anyway, I filed a complaint with the FTC, and am currently sending letters to the AG of California and Wisconsin (my home state), as well as disputing the charges with my credit card bank (I have obtained the phone records to prove I called 2 months ago, but was not sent a cancellation letter so this is really all I have to go on).
This company should be punished as severely as possible for the fraud it commits on a daily basis. Anyone know of new class action lawsuits against them? Or the status on the most recent one?
Re: Rep. Claimed I Called to Continue Service!
Jeff (Editor), August 22, 2007
You are the second person to report the exact same thing: You call to cancel. The TripleAdvantage representative tells you it's cancelled. Behind-the-scenes, the rep. doesn't cancel and instead notes in your account that you just called to tell them what a wonderful service they have.
It's absolutely contemptible.
The fact that they wouldn't refund your money is further proof of contempt for their fellow man. I hope your bank pulls through with the refund.
You're too late for the most recent class action lawsuit, which is actually a good thing. The settlement itself is a scam!
Fret not, though. I know lawyers frequently read this page. In fact, the third letter I received was from a lawyer.
You have done your part by reporting this fraud to the FTC and two Attorneys General. I applaud you for the effort and so do the people who were ripped off by TripleAdvantage but never spoke up.
FreeCreditReport.com Designed to Steal Your Money
Leif W., August 28, 2007
FreeCreditReport.com advertises a free credit report. A month later, I see a charge on my credit card for $12.95 for CIC*Triple Advantage. What is it for?
I call the toll free number, and they refuse to give me a refund. I called my Discover credit card and filed an unauthorized charge complaint. They said it's a 50% chance to get my money back, as it is "clearly stated on the website" that I'll be enrolled.
Well, look at the FreeCreditReport website. It's stated in pale blue text on a dark blue background, while the links to lure you into the site are bright, high contrast colored Flash animations. I look over the web site more, and at the bottom of the page beyond the visible edge of the window, there's poorly formatted text that might mention something "Important."
Ask any graphic designer if they had important information to tell the end user, if they would design a web site like this! They would tell you the same thing, don't be surprised if 99% of people never even notice the so-called important information.
Again, due to the poor formatting, a graphic designer will tell you the same thing, the page is "too busy", meaning too cluttered for the brain to make sense of or to convey information to people because the brain throws out cluttered information.
They already falsely advertised a free credit report, because a real credit report has all three bureaus and all three FICO scores. They already charged for a "free" thing. And then they have the nerve to steal more money for a useless "credit monitoring" service.
In all my life I've never had any fraud on my credit card except for companies like this with their hidden charges, and every other company has given me a full refund when I tell them I was unaware of any charges.
This is fraud, robbery and should be illegal. I am not a happy consumer. Experian and the other credit reporting agencies should be investigated for fraud. This is a crime. Multiply by the tens of thousands being duped every month.
Re: FreeCreditReport.com Designed to Steal Your Money
Jeff (Editor), August 28, 2007
I agree with you: From the commercials that draw you to their site to FreeCreditReport.com itself, they go out of their way to avoid any mention of their supposedly wonderful credit monitoring service.
If they truly believed in their product, their advertising would be something like "Get unlimited credit reports during your free 30 day trial of TripleAdvantage. Here are the benefits of our service..."
The problem is, the number of people willing to pay for credit monitoring is very small. That is why they feel the need to trick people into subscribing.
I offer them this free advice: Stop trying to sell what is an otherwise unprofitable product. Find something else to sell, like security freezes.
As you point out, the web site itself is truly work of deceptive advertising:
- Their disclosures, which were only added after settling false advertising charges with the FTC, have little contrast between the background and the text.
- Substantive discussion of the credit monitoring service takes place below the page footer.
- When requesting your credit card number, they say it's only to "establish your account."
I hope you will find a good outlet for your anger: File a complaint with the FTC. It may not get your money back, but it will ensure their crimes don't go unnoticed.
A Prayer for TripleAdvantage Staff
Krissy, September 11, 2007
God help these individuals. I pray that their business doesn't last much longer.
Re: A Prayer for TripleAdvantage Staff
Jeff (Editor), September 11, 2007
"But We Mention the Service in 3 Places on the Site"
Ryan, September 21, 2007
I had $6 in my bank account. Now I'm almost $40 in the hole because of their charges and the overdraft fee it caused.
I called them, demanded my money back and the lady only told me that it was shown 3 different places on the website that I would be charged if I did not call in.
I asked what I was even being charged for. She said that even though I never used it, I had access to their system and I paid for that service. Then she tried to trick me into continuing with their service.
I called my credit card company, and the guy told me that it shows the charge on their website so he couldn't refund it. I can't believe how these people make their money.
Re: "But We Mention the Service in 3 Places on the Site"
Jeff (Editor), September 23, 2007
That is some bad timing. You have my sympathy even if FreeCreditReport.com and your bank won't give you any.
The remark from the customer service representative is classic. She's essentially saying, "Yes, it's a scam. But there are three places on our web site where you could have seen through the scam!"
The rep. is correct- the credit monitoring service is mentioned in three, inconspicuous places.
Let's have a look at these three places:
- The left side of the home page has some blue text over a blue background. One paragraph warns about the charge. A first-time visitor to the site is looking for the place to sign up for the free credit report and instinctively clicks the "Get Yours Now" button, blowing by the subdued text.
- On the home page, underneath the page footer, there is discussion of the TripleAdvantage credit monitoring service. Even if the visitor finds this, it doesn't make it clear that this service is connected to your "free" credit report.
- The final page of the process is the best (and last) chance for a visitor to notice he or she is going to be charged. In the middle of six paragraphs of fine print, the monthly charge is disclosed.
If this was not a scam, they would be proud to tell you all about the credit monitoring service. They would extol the benefits of early detection of identity theft, unlimited access to your credit report, etc.
Instead, they tuck away any mention of the TripleAdvantage service into three places on the web site. Three places that they hope you don't look.
First Two Mentions of Service
The blue-on-blue text on the left and below the page footer.
Last Mention of Credit Monitoring
In the fine print at the bottom, below the "Payment Information" heading, is the third mention of the service.
It Takes Two Calls to Cancel
Buddy Davis, September 21, 2007
I called this dubious company one month after I cancelled and received another charge. I was told by "Michael" (would not release his last name) that he could not refund the most current charge and no one with his company could do that.
I asked for his supervisor (not there-of course) and asked for CEO, president of the company, (somebody) and he did not know the names of any of the company officers. He continued to reiterate he "could not" refund the most recent charge and no one with his company could do that!!!
Re: It Takes Two Calls to Cancel
Jeff (Editor), September 24, 2007
This pattern of failing to cancel on the first call is perhaps the most disturbing. Failing to adequately disclose the credit monitoring service is deceptive advertising. Failing to cancel the service after telling the customer it is canceled is downright fraud.
This pattern of fraud is documented several times here. The BBB of Northern Indiana has issued a consumer alert about it. Last year, the Florida Attorney General was looking into the charge.
These people have some nerve all right. What we really need is some tough enforcement to make sure these crimes don't pay. Experian has barely received a slap on the wrist.
FreeCreditReport.com Rep. Feels Bad
Buddy Davis, September 21, 2007
Because I check my accounts almost every day I also found the charge of $12.95 from Triple Advantage. I immediately called the number on my statement and talked to Ben.
He was nice but wanted to know if I was able to access my membership account. I basically told him I don't give a damn about access just cancel my account and give me back my money.
He finally told me he could cancel the account but did not have the authority to refund any money. He did give me the address and fax number of the dept. in which to get a hold of.
I had to give him my card number, name and last 4 digits of my SSN along with the answer to my mother's maiden name to be canceled.
I got the cancellation reference number I asked for and he said a confirmation e-mail would be sent. I made him give me the e-mail address it would be sent to to make sure they were on the up and up.
After I got everything I felt I could from Ben, I ripped him about how he could work for such a fraudulent company that screws thousands of people. I asked him if he had a conscience. By the time I finished with him I could tell it had a definite effect on him. Hopefully he can find a humane job if he decides to.
I am only out the $12.95 so far but I am not waiting around to see if they actually cancel the account. I am going to the bank for which the card is issued and stop any further fraudulent charges.
What a rip off. I have to say the first time I saw this charge I Googled it and up came this web site. It's a Godsend of information.
Thanks So Much!
Re: FreeCreditReport.com Rep. Feels Bad
Jeff (Editor), September 24, 2007
Thank you Mike for appealing to Ben's sense of humanity.
Deception and fraud are a way of life at FreeCreditReport.com. It's how they make a living. It's easy to assume that there is no decency in anyone who works there.
However, to many of the people on the frontlines and in the trenches, this is just a job. They didn't seek out a fraudulent company to earn a living.
Sooner or later, they must realize how their employer pays their salaries. Employees that do have a conscience must cope with this. If they don't quit, the other alternatives are to become numb to the lies or to rationalize them somehow.
Your conversation with Ben seems to have bursted that bubble he was living in, if only temporarily. For that, I commend you.
Jerry Brown: Get Off Your Lazy Butt!
Kapesh Patel, September 27, 2007
I am in disbelief reading all these complaints. What the hell is the California Attorney General doing about this?!?! And yes, I too just noticed the $12.95 CIC Triple Advantage charges.
Enough of calling that company a rip-off. The real rip-off's are our elected officials that are too stupid, lazy, and slow to act on this!
Re: Jerry Brown: Get Off Your Lazy Butt!
Jeff (Editor), September 27, 2007
The Office of the California AG should know about this company. At the very least, they know about free credit report scams.
I don't want to come down too hard on Jerry. The public has their part in alerting the attorney general about this scam. To that end, here is the link to file a complaint with the California Attorney General:
If we work together with the FTC, the AG, the BBB and others, we can bring this company to justice.
Privacy Matters 1-2-3 as Bad as TripleAdvantage
Andrea, October 1, 2007
PrivacyMatters 123 is just as bad as TripleAdvantage. I could not get through to cancel and had 2 months billed and never got a credit report!
Money for nothing!!
Re: Privacy Matters 1-2-3 as Bad as TripleAdvantage
Jeff (Editor), October 3, 2007
This is the first letter I have received about PrivacyMatters. The web site looks like more of the same kind of tactics that FreeCreditReport.com uses- only with a heavier impact on your credit card. $29.95 per month. Ouch!
This company is owned by TransUnion, one of the big three credit reporting agencies. FreeCreditReport.com (TripleAdvantage) is owned by Experian, another credit reporting agency.
There are plenty of complaints over at Ripoff Report. 49 in total (TripleAdvantage has at least 448). Many Privacy Matters complaints report the same experience: They manage to charge your credit card but can't seem to manage to give you a "free" credit report.
On the web site, they refer to the credit monitoring service as membership in Privacy Matters 1-2-3. There's no real explanation of the benefits of membership but they do mention the monthly costs in their "Offer Details" fine print.
If you miss the fine print, the penalties are much greater than TripleAdvantage. A $29.95 per month hit to your credit card with only 7 days to cancel during your trial period.
The process of canceling and getting justice is nearly identical to canceling TripleAdvantage. There is just a different toll free number to call: 1 (877) 993-6264.
Thanks, Andrea for the heads-up on this company.
Refund Without Faxing?
Danny, October 12, 2007
I called twice this morning. I have confirmed cancellation. How can I get my money back without faxing my info to Irvine, CA?
I see a lot of testimonials about getting money, so someone has to know. Please help.
Re: Refund Without Faxing?
Jeff (Editor), October 12, 2007
These people seem to make up the rules as they go along. Some get refunds while they're on the phone. Some are required to fax something in. Most don't get a refund at all.
Since they promised you a refund, your best bet is to follow their instructions.
Your other option is get them back on the phone. Tell them, thanks to the power of the Internet, you know they can refund your money without faxing. Talk to a supervisor, keep them on the line until they agree, be persistent, tell them you're not going away until you get results.
If you find that more convenient (or satisfying) than faxing a sheet of paper, that is your only other recourse.
Charged for (Allegedly) Using Deactivated Service
Danny, October 16, 2007
Got my "free" credit report from FreeCreditReport.com about a month ago. 5 minutes after viewing the report online, I called and cancelled the credit monitoring service. The next month, a $12.95 charge appears on my credit card statement.
I called CIC credit monitoring to dispute the charge. Even though I cancelled the service, they claim that I looked at my credit report again a few days later and this reactivated my membership. This is untrue. I had never looked at the report since the first time.
I told them I would be contacting the FTC, my credit card company, and joining the class action suit. After talking to the supervisor, they refunded my money. It was credited to my account on the very same day.
Re: Charged for (Allegedly) Using Deactivated Service
Jeff (Editor), October 18, 2007
Amazing. These are downright childish antics. I'm hearing the conversation in my mind:
Mike: But I didn't look at my credit report again.
CIC Rep: Yeah-huh
Mike: Excuse me?
CIC Rep: Did so and there's no take backs. I get to keep your money! Na-na-ne-na-na!
Since you cancelled your service, why would you even be able use it without signing up again? If you cancelled your phone service but the phone company left the line active, would they charge you a full month for checking the dial tone?
How much more proof does our government need? Guys in blue windbreakers with the letters FTC on the back should be descending on the offices of ConsumerInfo.Com (CIC). We have transcended class action lawsuits and miniscule fines. We need to see some suits thrown in jail.
On a side-note, I am not aware of any pending class action lawsuit that you are eligible to join. They have settled two class actions that I know of, the most recent of which is just winding down. But I guess such threats (true or not) strike a chord with them!
TripleAdvantage Eerily Quiet for a "Monitoring" Service
Mel, October 23, 2007
I was really upset to find this charge on my credit card. Really didn't know I had enrolled in a credit monitoring program. In fact, I never went back to look at my credit report after the first time.
I saw the charge last night, after their office hours, so had to wait till today to call. It went very smoothly. I wasn't put on hold, the representative was very polite and didn't try to convince me to stay enrolled.
I said I didn't know I was enrolling in their program and felt that I was misled into thinking it was a free credit report, with no strings attached. She explained (what I had already figured out) that by asking for my credit report/score I was enrolling in the free trial and failed to cancel within the first 30 days. I said that I now know what happened but it was not made clear when I registered for a "free" credit report and that I never even received any emails from Triple Advantage cluing me in on my "membership."
Told her that I expected a refund. She canceled my account immediately and then put me on hold for a few seconds to "see what she could do about my refund." She came back with good news: my card would be refunded within 7 to 10 business days.
I was very surprised at how easy it was. I had been prepared to put up a fight.
The day after ordered my credit report from freecreditreport.com, I also went to transunion.com to order one but found out that I could only view my credit score if I enrolled in their credit monitoring program (True Credit), so I did. I'm very much on top of my credit accounts so I knew I would remember to cancel in time.
True Credit sent me emails all the time, either telling me about other offers or letting me know when there was new activity on my credit report such as a new inquiry or new account, none of which I got from Experian. I canceled True Credit a week before the end of my trial (after having to go through a pushy representative however) and I don't have to worry about it anymore.
I mean, it's OK to take advantage of these free trial offers, but it's not OK for these huge credit bureaus to take advantage of their customers and use deceit as a way to get money from us.
Re: TripleAdvantage Eerily Quiet for a "Monitoring" Service
Jeff (Editor), October 23, 2007
You bring up a good point: What good is a credit monitoring service that is dead silent for months at a time? We all know the service is just an excuse to charge you $12.95 a month. But if they are deliberately suppressing the alerts you should be getting, it opens up a whole new set of criminal and civil implications.
Imagine if there had been fraud on your credit report and TripleAdvantage didn't alert you to it. It's mind boggling that they would recklessly endanger the identity they are claiming to protect.
FreeCreditReport.com's service (supposedly) monitors all three credit bureaus daily. The fact that you we're getting alerts from TransUnion and not from Experian is a smoking gun.
I implore you to report this to the FTC, if you haven't already. You have incredibly damaging evidence right there in your Inbox.
A Year of Promises But Still No Cancellation
Simone Taylor, October 31, 2007
I have been trying to cancel this Triple Advantage charge from my account for the past year and have been unsuccessful. I have spoken to quite a few reps and placed an number of emails which have lead to no cancellation. I have been told numerous times that a cancellation was made yet the charges are still being withdrawn from my account.
How do I file a complaint that will allow a full refund of the charges to my account? This is ridiculous because I was told a number of times that the cancellation was made and still no results.
Re: A Year of Promises But Still No Cancellation
Jeff (Editor), October 31, 2007
Stories like your's still amaze me, even though I have heard them so many times. This is nothing less than brazen thievery if they can't manage to cancel your "service" after multiple calls. I'm certain I can help you stop the charges. Unfortunately, you are unlikely to see most of your money back.
You need to call your credit card company. You can find the toll free number on the back of the credit card that is being charged. You need to tell them two things:
- You do not authorize further charges from CIC TripleAdvantage. This will prevent them from charging you again.
- You have been defrauded by this company and would like a refund on the last two month's charges. By law, they are required to refund unauthorized charges that you report within 60 days.
Tell your credit card company the same thing you told me. They will definitely prevent further charges. They should refund the last two $12.95 charges (and they might reverse more than that if they are generous).
Make no doubt about it: You are a victim of fraud. I urge you to report it to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). This government agency has already fined TripleAdvantage $1.25 million for these practices. It is not nearly enough.
Filing Complaints: Helps You, Helps Others
Pam, November 1, 2007
I called CIC Triple Advantage on October 31st as soon as the charge cleared my account. I had not signed up for this service. I only wanted the free credit report.
The first rep I talked to "canceled" my account, but would not refund the $12.00 they took from my checking account (I used a Visa debit card). I spoke to her "supervisor" who also refused to refund, claiming it was posted as non refundable on their website in 3 different places.
I immediately filed complaints with CA State attorney general, my state's attorney general and the FTC. Then I called my credit union. They canceled my debit card, and I am filling out paperwork for the not authorized EFT.
November 1st, I called CIC again, asked the rep to check and see if my account was canceled. She said yes, it was closed yesterday, October 31st.
Then I asked "When will I get my refund?"
She tried the "It's posted in 3 places on our website" song and dance. I told her no one can read blue on blue, that "I have already filed complaints with CA, my state, the FTC and my credit union. I was bullied and pushed and scammed into this service and I didn't want it. I didn't authorize it. So when am I getting my refund?"
She put me on hold so she could speak to her supervisor. 30 seconds later, she was back giving me my refund. It is supposed to be back in my account in 7-10 business days.
I told her, if I get another charge from them and if I don't get my refund, I will be back. In spades.
Now I am waiting to see if I get my refund in real life and if they have really canceled my account.
My advice is be firm, unmovable in your insistence. Call back if you have to. File every complaint you can.
I plan on harassing them daily if they do not cancel and refund. I will get my money back, or cost them far more for messing with me.
Re: Filing Complaints: Helps You, Helps Others
Jeff (Editor), November 4, 2007
I commend you for not taking no for an answer. It sounds like it is going to pay off for you. It just goes to show that no rules are set in stone, no matter how much they insist it is.
I'm also noticing a pattern here: Telling TripleAdvantage that you have written letters to the FTC, attorney general, the Better Business Bureau, etc really seems to get action.
I think I know why.
If you are on record with the FTC (for example) and they take action against TripleAdvantage, it will look better if they can prove they don't owe you any money.
It starting to seem like filing a complaint can be used as a bargaining chip in getting a refund. What a great way to help yourself while helping bring TripleAdvantage to justice!
TripleAdvantage is Afraid of Getting Caught
Mary Brooks, November 14, 2007
Thank you! I was prepared when I called Triple Advantage after having read the probable scenario from your website. You were right-on!
They were very insistent about not refunding, but I didn't back down and I used words like "feel misled, victim of fraud, did not intentionally sign up" to no avail. What worked for me was to say "OK fine, my next step was going to be contacting the credit card company and getting the charge refunded anyway." She immediately asked me to hold, checked with a supervisor and 30 seconds later informed me that I would be refunded one month's fee in 7-10 business days. I'll see.
Thank you again for your information it was extremely helpful.
Re: TripleAdvantage is Afraid of Getting Caught
Jeff (Editor), November 15, 2007
You are quite welcome. It's gratifying to hear another success story and another $12.95 FreeCreditReport.com didn't get to keep.
Your story is yet another example of how scared silly these people are of being reported.
Your credit card company, the FTC, the BBB, the Attorney General. Just mention any of these names and TripleAdvantage suddenly becomes more agreeable to refunds.
Of course, I encourage everyone to go beyond dropping names. You have indeed been defrauded. Until they face some stiff penalties, the will continue to defraud your neighbors and family. Please follow through and file a report with the FTC.
For Best Results, Be Courteous When Calling
David, November 29, 2007
The scam these CIC guys are pulling is well outlined here so I wont go into the details of mine which are monthly charges from 4/07 to 11/07 before I noticed it.
Anyhow the cancellation people were at least receptive to my call. You have to ask for a supervisor after you have spoken to the first person, they are the only ones that can give you a refund. Extract all of the info out of the first person than move on to the second.
Don't listen to what the first person says about their ability to refund you. At first she said from her office she couldn't give any refund, when I finally asked for a supervisor she said the best he could give me was one month and when I finally got through with the supervisor he refunded me 4 of 8 months (51 bucks).
The irony of this is that this is actually more than I expected when in reality it is like getting kicked in the balls by a guy who steals 100 bucks from you and then he runs into you 8 months later and feels bad and offers you 50 bucks back.
His readiness to give me 4 months back tells me two things 1) they are acutely aware that they are ripping you off or they wouldn't give you a cent back no matter how much you wanted 2) they must be feeling some effect from the two lawsuits because clearly they are trying to appease people that have a legitimate suit 3) they are plenty happy giving me back 51 bucks knowing they they were able to swindle me out of the first 4 months.
After I see the 54 bucks on my credit card statement I still plan to file a complaint with the FTC, Attorney General and send in a certified letter to customer service demanding the other 4 months back. I may enter a lawsuit but you are better off getting as much back as you can from the company because you will be lucky to get 50% of anything back from a class action suit.
One key - be courteous but firm to the people on the phone - speak intelligently and state that you realize this isn't their fault but that you still plan to get this issue rectified no matter what it takes you. I guarantee that if you treat them like s**t they will happily make your life miserable and there isn't much you can do about it. Also, make sure you record the names, dates and exact content of the conversation that you had - you may need it in the future.
Re: For Best Results, Be Courteous When Calling
Jeff (Editor), November 30, 2007
Thanks David for the excellent letter. You are so right: No matter how mad you are at this company, you will get more cooperation out of the rep. and his or her supervisors if you keep your cool.
Anyone who has worked with customers can attest to how quickly they lose empathy for irate customers, no matter how valid their complaints. Remember the old saying, "You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar."
For your own sake: Be calm. State your case. Be firm but polite. Secure your refund.
Then unleash your tirade: tell them they're are going to jail then to hell; ask them how they sleep at night; tell them they are nothing more than slimy, antisocial criminals who don't deserve to breath the same air as you and I; level those personal insults about their mothers.
Just hold off until after you get what you were calling for: Cancellation and a refund.
It's Your Fault, TripleAdvantage Owes You Nothing
Allison, December 6, 2007
I ordered a "free" credit report as well. I clearly remember reading a "free 30-day free trial" for the CIC triple advantage was necessary for the free credit report. I forgot to cancel after the 30 day free trial period, and it appears that many of you forgot as well.
I did call and cancel after seeing the $12.95 charge on my credit card. I did not got reimbursed because I had not cancelled the membership within the 30 days. That was my fault.
I don't see why any of you should be reimbursed. It's a 30-day free trial, then you incur the cost. It is clearly stated on the credit report web page.
Re: It's Your Fault, TripleAdvantage Owes You Nothing
Jeff (Editor), December 6, 2007
You are clearly an astute consumer who knows that when someone offers you something for free, there is almost always a catch. If you enter FreeCreditReport.com looking for the catch, you will find it.
I disagree that the trial is clearly stated. There are only two places on the entire FreeCreditReport.com site where the connection between the free credit report and the trial is mentioned. The first is on the home page in blue text on a blue background. The second is in the middle of the fine print which includes 19 printed pages (no kidding) of Terms and Conditions.
The catch is easy to miss: If you let your guard down; if English isn't your primary language or you read at a 5th grade level; if you're young and trusting; if you're new to this Internet thing. More importantly, many people mistake FreeCreditReport.com for AnnualCreditReport.com, the official, government-mandated site to get your free credit report with no strings attached.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has forced this company on two occasions to return a total of $2.5 million in "ill-gotten" gains. They have also settled two class action lawsuits that I know of.
Yes, those who have fallen for FreeCreditReport's deceptive advertising could have and should have scrutinized the offer more closely. I can almost guarantee they will be more skeptical next time. But that doesn't excuse FreeCreditReport's behavior.
Of course, people who knew this charge was coming do not deserve a refund. However, most people who write to Knowzy aren't playing dumb. They fell into FreeCreditReport.com's carefully laid trap.
Don't Give FreeCreditReport.com Your Credit Card Number
Wayne, December 6, 2007
IMPORTANT!!!Whatever you do DO NOT give them your credit card information!!! They do not need it to verify who you are!!!
When you first "signed up" online you should have received a confirmation email. At the bottom of this e-mail is a Reference Number. Give that number instead! This is important!
Here is why:
The responders on the other line do not see your full credit card number. Only the last 4 digits. (just like your ssn). If they have your credit card number they can easily steal your identity if they so choose. Remember these are regular paid employees. They are not a Bank or Credit Union that have certain parameters set in place to avoid employee fraud.
This is how my conversation went.
When I called to cancel, the employee asked me for my credit card number and I refused to give it to her. She said it was the only way that she could verify who I was. < -- (this is a lie)
I told her I had a Reference Number that she could use to verify my "membership account." She assumed that I meant the reference number on my billing statement and replied with, "I'm sorry but I can't use the reference number that is on your credit card statement because that number is generated by the credit card company and we do not receive that information."
I told her it was not the reference number from my card statement but that it was the Reference Number from the E-mail that they sent me after I "joined." She paused for a few seconds and said "Yes I can pull up your information that way. What is the number?".....
Didn't she say she needed my card number for verification?!!
Don't ever give that number out!!!! You never know who is on the other line!
In addition - Triple Advantage subcontracts their phone services outside of the United States. I'm not sure if it is India or another country but you can safely assume so since I spoke with several other employees and their english accents were extremely heavy and a bit hard to understand.
I was scammed as well and was charged for 2 months of "monitoring." I even called my card company and they stated there was nothing I could do about the charges since free credit report . com has disclaimers placed on there site. So I am out $25.95 unless someone can come up with a solution for me.
On another note- I found this site using google and typed in triple advantage. This site was the #1 ranked site. Free Credit Report was listed 2nd. If possible guys, see if you can rank it #1 for anyone who types in FreeCreditReport or Experian!
(Experian owns Triple Advantage which runs FreeCreditReport- and yes I mean the Experian). It just shows that even the "reliable" consumer credit reporting companies, who by law are supposed to furnish you with a free credit report each year are nothing but scam artists and crooks that only want your money and do not care who they harm.
And just so you know, these :credit reports" that they give out are not your actual numbers. They do not share that information with you. They only give your real numbers out to other financial companies and businesses......
Very informative site by the way Kudos to all for your hard work.
Don't forget guys!!! DO NOT GIVE THEM YOUR CREDIT CARD NUMBER!
Re: Don't Give FreeCreditReport.com Your Credit Card Number
Jeff (Editor), December 10, 2007
Good advice in general, though I wouldn't want to create a big battle over this and lose the battle over the refund. As a compromise, I might be willing to give up the last four digits of my credit card or Social Security Number to avoid creating a big stink. Chances are, they have access to your credit report anyway, which has everything- SSN, credit card numbers, you name it.
Certainly it doesn't seem wise for Experian to put private financial data in the hands of foreign workers. Should the data be exploited, how capable would Experian (or any other US company) be at investigating and prosecuting the responsible individuals in a foreign country?
In Experian's case, I guess it just creates one more way to market their credit monitoring: "See, even we credit bureaus cannot be trusted to safeguard your private financial data. You need pay us to safeguard it yourself."
Let the Better Business Bureau Help You Get a Refund
Andrea, January 19, 2008
I was charged $14.95 for my subscription. I immediately Googled the (877) 481-6826 number and discovered the scam.
When I called the company they told me that they would cancel my subscription but that they had a "no refund" policy.
I filled a claim both to BBB and FTC after I called my CC company to dispute the charge. The FTC thanked me for the claim but through BBB I got my reimbursement. Summarizing what the company stated:
"The consumer agrees to these terms when submitting their order. On the date of the consumer's enrollment, the following disclosure" (about being charged) "was clearly and conspicuously displayed on our website"
I personally think that their definition of clearly and conspicuous is very loose.
And finally they said:
"We apologize for any inconvenience or misunderstanding. The membership was cancelled and we will refund the monthly charges of $14.95 within 10 business days."
So file your claims, don't let this company get your money!
Re: Let the Better Business Bureau Help You Get a Refund
Jeff (Editor), January 20, 2008
That's excellent. I'm happy to share your advice and story.
Despite more than 2,600 complaints on file with the BBB, the company has a "B" Company Rating. I'm not sure what it takes to get an "F!"
By all means, let the BBB help you get the refund you deserve. At the same time, you will help push FreeCreditReport.Com's grade closer to an "F," which is exactly what it should be.
Will TripleAdvantage Steal My Identity?
Concerned1, January 28, 2008
I had this happen to me as well and have been charged for 14 months before I noticed what was going on. I thought the charges were for something else. I called 1-877-481-6825 and spoke to someone who canceled the service. I made it a point to get the reference number for the cancellation.
I asked for a refund and the guy on the phone said he can only offer one month worth but I insisted on speaking with a supervisor. He created a complaint on my behalf and they're supposed to call me back within 48 hours. Here's hoping.
What truly concerns me though is that they apparently have my social security number, my name, credit card number, zip code, email address, most of which is obvious but...I really don't trust a company like this to have access to all of that.
Has anyone had issues with them misusing this information / identity theft after they dealt with this whole issue? I really wish there was a way for all my info to be deleted from their databases completely.
Re: Will TripleAdvantage Steal My Identity?
Jeff (Editor), January 28, 2008
You are not likely to experience ID theft from this experience. The FreeCreditReport.com scam is limited to deceptive advertising and mysterious charges on your credit card.
The company is owned by Experian, one of the three credit bureaus. If they started identity theft'ing their customers, they would lose whatever credibility they have remaining to their claim of identity protector.
The concern I have is their outsourcing practice. They farm out some of their customer service to a foreign country where it would be more difficult to prosecute a rep. who misused the information.
This hasn't happened. At least not yet.
How I Got My Money Back (and You Can Too)
Russell, February 15, 2008
I got my "FREE" credit report on Dec. 5 2007. I was in a hurry as I navigated their site because I had just been served a summons from one of my creditors who was finally trying to obtain a judgment against me. However, I specifically remember checking a box that said something to the effect of "No I do not want to enroll in credit monitoring I just want the credit report." Surprise, surprise, they enrolled me anyway. I was charged $14.95 on 1/7/08 and again on 2/5/08.
I called on 2/14 after reading this site and was polite with them and fully prepared to have to listen to them extol the virtues of their wonderful credit monitoring service. I talked to Marchina (sp?) and she confirmed that all I had done with my "account" was obtain my credit report back in December. I asked her to cancel my account and refund my two charges. She said she was not authorized to give me a refund but would cancel my account.
I asked to speak to a supervisor, at which she put me on hold and came back within 15 seconds saying that she would refund one month's worth of charges. I reminded her that she just confirmed that I never used the service and that I wasn't interested in paying for something I didn't use. I asked for the supervisor again and she said that they are all in a meeting and refused to transfer me to a higher up human being. She repeatedly offered me the fax number and address of the "highest department in the company." I said that that would not satisfy me as I believed that I would be ignored. I eventually told her to forget that I called, DO NOT cancel my account, DO NOT issue me a partial refund, and that I would call back in a couple of hours when the supposed meeting would be over.
Well I forgot to call back so I called the next day (2/15) and got pretty much the same thing. This time I spoke to Caroline. I told her the same stuff and she told me the same stuff even down to the part about the supervisors all being in a meeting. I said that's funny that's what they were doing when I called yesterday. I could tell she was kind of taken aback by that. She offered me the fax number and address again and I told her that I wanted to speak to a human being, not be ignored by a fax machine or a PO box.After another thirty seconds on hold she came back to tell me that I would receive a full refund. I asked if she would get in trouble for authorizing a refund when all her supervisors were away in a meeting and all she said was "No." I got my confirmation number and now I have 7-10 business days to wait and see if I get my money back.
To anyone reading: DO NOT give up! DO NOT take no for an answer. If you feel yourself getting angry, tell the person to TAKE NO ACTION with your "account" and call back when you've cooled off. Remember that they are reading pre-scripted lines and that these are people like you and I who are just trying to earn a living so treat them with at least a modicum of respect. The money is yours you just have to ask nicely for it back.
Re: How I Got My Money Back (and You Can Too)
Jeff (Editor), February 20, 2008
Excellent letter, Russell. There's not much I can add to it.
Very interesting that she managed to refund your money without the "all powerful" supervisor.
The daily "all supes" meeting sounds like another convenient lie the reps are scripted to tell. If so, the motivation for telling it is clear: It's another obstacle to getting a refund.
Thank you for the inspiring story. It provides both an good example to follow and confidence that others will get their refund too.
It's Your Fault for Being Stupid
Jessica, February 21, 2008
For all of the people on this website who are complaining about this company should take a step back think.
Did they put your credit card number in? NO! Are they responsible for you not reading the terms and conditions? NO. Would buy a new car without reading the paper work? NO.
So for all of you people who are calling this place and cussing and screaming and causing people who are just there to do there jobs to have a bad day, need to stop and think. . . .IS IT THERE FAULT YOUR TO STUPID TO READ BEFORE YOU PUT YOUR CREDIT CARD INFO ONLINE?
Re: It's Your Fault for Being Stupid
Jeff (Editor), February 23, 2008
I understand what you're saying and believe me, many people admit they did a stupid thing after the fact.
But, please tell me you at least agree FreeCreditReport.com is being sneaky and luring in people who breeze past the fine print. That's not right either.
May I suggest that before you go around calling people stupid that you be certain no one can point out your own stupidity. Case in point, your web browser is telling me you have spyware installed (FunWebProducts, Google it).
I could say that only stupid people don't run anti-virus and anti-spyware software. I could laugh at you and say you deserve the pop-up ads and identity theft that go along with an insecure computer.
Instead, I prefer educating people so they don't repeat their mistakes while holding the violators accountable for their actions.
Disputes Rep: Read Fine Print. Knowzy: Revoke Merchant Account
Michael, February 21, 2008
I work in the disputes department of a major credit card issuer. To say I'm familiar with cic*triple advantage is an understatement, in fact saying it's an understatement would be an understatement in itself.
To begin I would like to say that I hate this company more than any of you. You only have to deal with the experience once, hopefully by then you're smart enough to read disclosures. Me? I get to relive the experience dozens of times.
When someone starts on about an unauthorized charge and mentions "what's this triple advantage?" I explain to them about freecreditreport.com and they remember using it. Unfortunately no one remembers the dozen or so notices posted on the website, in the commercials, or in the often ignored terms of agreement.
Originally I had sympathy for these people, and then I checked out the site myself. There is a banner that takes up no less than a 3rd of the occupied space that explains in nice big letters what people are getting themselves into.
Never mind doing a little research on a company prior to doing business with them... How about taking the saying "There's no such thing as a free lunch." into consideration.
If a customer wants to take advantage of their rights as a consumer granted by the fair credit reporting act they should take a look at annualcreditreport.com.
This site offers the once per year free credit report we are entitled to online, and offers them from all three major credit bureaus.
So let's save terms like "justice" and "evil" for those victims that truly deserve them.
Re: Disputes Rep: Read Fine Print. Knowzy: Revoke Merchant Account
Jeff (Editor), February 25, 2008
First let me say, this is the kind of critical letter I enjoy publishing. On occasion, I receive letters complaining about complaints people make here. These letters are typically juvenile, full of personal insults for me and my readers and generally not constructive. The previous letter just barely made the cut.
I'm happy to respond to your letter. It is intelligent, offers solutions and relays an interesting anecdote.
I appreciate that you're tired of consumers making the same mistake over and over again. I have to admit, after running this topic for over two years, the complaints (and sometimes even the praise) get repetitive.
Yes, "there's no free lunch" and people learn this lesson firsthand when the discover the charge for their "free" credit report. Though we tell people about www.annualcreditreport.com, it's too late by the time they find us.
However, trying to educate every person in America to be a better consumer before they reach your department will prove to be immensely more frustrating than dealing with your customers after the fact.
Instead, I have a different proposition for you: What does it take revoke the merchant account of someone like ConsumerInfo.com (aka. FreeCreditReport.com)?
You're describing a huge amount of collective labor costs over fairly small transactions. When a $14.95 transaction is processed, I'm guessing your bank clears at most a nickel after expenses. If even one out of 100 of these transactions results in a call to your bank, that profit is wiped out.
This company isn't just ripping off consumers, it is costing your bank and other credit card issuers big money.
I would like to see a campaign, led by credit card issuers and supported by people who have been taken in by FreeCreditReport.com, for revoking ConsumerInfo.com's merchant account with Visa/MC/Discover/Amex.
Visa, MasterCard and ConsumerInfo.com are making profits at the expense of your company and your patience. Fines and lawsuits haven't stopped FreeCreditReport.com from deceiving millions of people into paying for something they can get for free.
Can your bank afford to continue processing transactions from FreeCreditReport.com?
Disputes Rep: Read Fine Print. Knowzy: Revoke Merchant Account
Joshua, March 3, 2008
Sounds like in this case a BBB rating of "B" is about as good as a mortgage bond or CDO being rated AAA.
I just called in to cancel my account for the second time, after noticing over six months later that I was still getting charged.
Yes they did ask for my CC # but since I no longer use the account I will notice fraud right away and will bring the hammer down if it happens.
Though I did not ask for a refund, just a cancellation, I had to pry and pry to get a reference number. Oh and the confirmation e-mail that was suppose to show up in five or ten minutes? Hasn't shown up yet.
From a business standpoint I like the idea of canceling the merchant account. If the cost of customer service dealing with the call-ins is that high, it makes perfect sense.
Or maybe the safer site mentioned above could make itself more visible and well-known.
Re: Disputes Rep: Read Fine Print. Knowzy: Revoke Merchant Account
Jeff (Editor), March 4, 2008
That sounds like TripleAdvantage: The "service" you just can't seem to cancel!
The rally cry to revoke FreeCreditReport.com's merchant account is really directed at the credit card issuers and banks that process these transactions. I've heard from a number of disputes reps. From what I'm hearing, they are getting ripped off by FreeCreditReport.com too.
The courts, the FTC and the BBB haven't shut these guys down. But taking away their ability to charge credit cards would stop them dead in their tracks!
I think FreeCreditReport.com's multi-million dollar marketing campaign is what drives people to their web site. Google free credit report and annualcreditreport.com (the good site) is the top result. FreeCreditReport.com comes in third.
Re: Disputes Rep: Read Fine Print. Knowzy: Revoke Merchant Account
Michael, March 15, 2008
Thanks for the reply, I'm surprised I heard back to be honest :P
As for a company wide block on cic*triple advantage I really don't know what it would take. The company definitely costs us a lot of money in resources but to be honest I think the bank still comes out on top.
If you figure "we" make 1% off of the transactions themselves, and most people let this go on indefinitely, and those that notice make up another 1% taking an average of 12 months to notice the charges... Let's not forget the poor condition of the economy and the fact that most people whom rarely review their statements aren't typically "transactors" (people that pay their bill in full every month) the bank is making, uh, bank on finance charges. Then the customers don't have any chargeback rights anyhow... I'm sure the bank still comes out on top. As far as our operating costs go... well, the bank is obligated to have us handy anyway and this company is only a very small percentage of the cases we receive.
Blocking a merchant as a whole is, I'm sure, a very big deal and hard to get permission for. I've only seen us do it once to westernunion.com and that's because criminals were cleaning us out. Literally. I'm only speculating, but I would have to guess that "we" need permission to issue such a block from the associations (in our case Visa and MasterCard) and, as you mentioned, they're the biggest profiteers and the ones most likely to oppose such a block.
When I was reading through the testimonials on your site I noticed a few people having luck with getting charges credited back, to be honest, I was surprised. Triple Advantage is probably one of the most ruthless merchants I've dealt with rarely waiving fees. On the rare instance they're willing to give credit it's usually just the last month or so. If one is persistent enough I don't doubt that calling repeatedly and bugging the hell out of their underpaid team leads will eventually end in refunds... and/or pleas to stop calling.
Oh well. Hopefully the recoil from the masses getting screwed over from internet transactions will result in at least a skimming of the terms of agreement from most folks...
Re: Disputes Rep: Read Fine Print. Knowzy: Revoke Merchant Account
Jeff (Editor), March 18, 2008
I don't claim the people who didn't read the fine print don't share part of the blame. For many of them, this is a lesson learned they hard way. It's good that people like you are there to drive home "the moral of the story."
I do claim that the lion's share of the blame belongs on FreeCreditReport.com for setting the trap in the first place. Certainly the FTC and state attorneys general agree, having accused ConsumerInfo.com of deceptive advertising and more.
There must be something in the Visa/MC merchant agreement Experian is violating.
I see credit card companies take issue with "Mom and Pop" mini-marts who impose a minimum purchase on their customers. If they can deal with what must be a thousand small business owners in a week, it shouldn't take a decade to take issue with a high-profile business like ConsumerInfo.com (a subsidiary of Experian).
Believe me, people get their money back all the time following our step-by-step guide. I get multiple thank you letters a day. The CIC people have guilty consciences. As long as you are insistent and respectful, you will get your money back after a short song and dance.
Your bank or credit card issuer, as I say in the article, is a last resort and the least effective means of getting your money back.
While we may not agree on the numbers, we at least agree that CIC TripleAdvantage transactions have a significantly lower profit margin that your average transaction.
You can't protect your card-carrying customers from all the trouble they get themselves into on the Internet. But it would be doing a great service if the bank stood up to those merchants that harm their customers so often that the bank knows them by name.
FreeCreditReport.com Rep. Says Stop Yelling at Us
Robin, March 22, 2008
OK. This is for all you people out there who think TripleAdvantage is a scam or a rip off. It is in big enough letters anyone who can read an address on the Internet can read what is on the front page of the site and what does it state: "When you get your free report you will begin your trial in TripleAdvantage Credit Monitoring. If you do not cancel your trial within 7 days, you will be billed $14.95 for each month you continue your membership."
For all you ignorant people who put their credit card or debit card into any website without reading and thinking, "Oh they have my credit card number, I'm not going to be billed," do me a favor, yes don't call us because this is exactly what we want to say to you when you call after being charged for 6 months or more and say "I didn't realize I was being charged for this I thought it was free."
Well my friend, I don't know about you, but if you are griping about $15 missing and you haven't noticed for 6 months and then call us yelling at us saying it's a scam when in fact it (just like the site says), the report would of been free if you would of read what you were getting into to begin with. I notice $2 out of my acct and go back and figure out why.
We strictly have a no refund policy so that doesn't mean when you call in yes you are going to get one. Yes there are circumstances where we do give refunds to honest people who actually don't get a report to begin with. That circumstance is when you are getting a report there are 2 authentication process to verify your identity, if your fail then the Bureau sends a Private Access Code to the address that is current on your report.
So when you people call us to yell at us for your stupidity try to think again.
Re: FreeCreditReport.com Rep. Says Stop Yelling at Us
Jeff (Editor), March 25, 2008
I strongly advise people against yelling at their FreeCreditReport.com rep. It doesn't help their case. I encourage Knowzy readers to be polite but firm when asking for a refund.
If anything, callers that Knowzy sends your way are more informed and more calm, making your job easier.
Sure, I do wish you would take a better job. Arkansas is too beautiful of a place to stay cooped up listening to angry people yell at you all day! Maybe you could do something more fun, like catering to tourists in the Ozarks.
Remember, this is the job you chose. No amount of griping on Knowzy will spare you the daily verbal barrage that a company like FreeCreditReport.com elicits.
FreeCreditReport.com exists to sell a credit monitoring service. While the "free" credit report offer is impossible to miss, the TripleAdvantage service is only mentioned in three places on the entire site.
Two of those places are disclaimers: The blue on blue text on the home page and in the fine print before you click "Agree." The third and only detailed description of the service is below the page footer on the home page and doesn't connect the free credit report offer TripleAdvantage enrollment.
Please explain why the service that makes up the bulk of your revenue is relegated to the fine print?
Yes, if you read carefully and have developed a healthy skepticism that comes from being screwed over in the past, you will notice the catch to the free credit report offer.
The elderly, the young and trusting, busy career parents, people who mistake FreeCreditReport.com for http://www.annualcreditreport.com, people who don't read English natively. All of these segments of America could reasonably miss the disclaimer.
Would you vindicate the con artist because his mark "should have known" he was being conned?
The lawyers who read these pages are going to have a field day with your last statement: Customers who's identity can't be confirmed are still charged.
In other words, even though the company is unable to fulfill the customer's order, TripleAdvantage still sees fit to take $15 out of his or her account every month indefinitely.
In other words, the company has two different identity verification requirements: One for charging the customer's credit card and one for providing the service he or she is paying for.
That is a stunning admission.
Robin, I wish you would have left your e-mail address so that we could talk further. Hopefully you will read the letter on the site.
I will continue to advise Knowzy readers to place their calls in a way that doesn't raise your blood pressure. Please return the favor by continuing to issue refunds to cooperative Knowzy readers (in spite of your "strict no-refund" policy).
Other Ways to Find Yourself Enrolled in TripleAdvantage
Another Victim, February 20, 2008
I won't bore you with the details, as my story is similar to many others---caught the charge on my Visa 2 days after it posted. Using information supplied here (thanks!), I was able to cancel and obtain a promise of a full refund for the 1 month charge of $14.95 with one phone call. What's bothered me, though, is how I got snookered in the first place--thought I was a savvy, careful consumer.
I went back to annualcreditreport.com and realized what I did ... I clicked on the Experian box (listed as one of the sponsors of the site), as I remembered that when I got a credit report from annualcreditreport.com in the past I needed to choose which credit bureau(s) I wanted to receive the report from. I like to do 1 at a time and space them out over the year. Clicking on that Experian link sent me to Experian's site and, well, the rest is history. I still feel stupid, but at least now I know where I went wrong.
Re: Other Ways to Find Yourself Enrolled in TripleAdvantage
Jason, March 26, 2008
I requested my FCRA credit report from Experian.com directly. I did not request any credit score, or credit monitoring, or extended access to my credit report, or any other service that would imply membership or cost. I did not choose any "Free credit report and score" option. I did not go to www.freecreditreport.com or any other website. I knew freecreditreport.com was a scam.
After entering my information on experian.com, I was informed Experian could not provide me with my credit report. I was told a password would be mailed to me within 10 days, but this was never done.
About a month later, I go a CIC*CM charge which flagged my account and got my bank to call me. I called the phone number on the charge (800-388-8725) and was automatically disconnected for "high call volume." I told my bank the charges were fraudulent and my CC has been suspended as lost/stolen.
About two hours after that, I got an email from FreeCreditReports.com indicating my "Score Tracker has been updated" and suggesting I have been enrolled in Triple Advantage for some time now. This is my first and only email from FreeCreditReport . One would think if I had legitimately enrolled in such a thing, I would have received some sort of welcome message.
What frustrates me is that I told my own bank rep that I never went to FreeCreditReport.com and she didn't seem to believe me.
What infuriates me is that Experian is a CRA and even when I deal with them directly they still see fit to scam me and withhold my annual credit report.
Re: Other Ways to Find Yourself Enrolled in TripleAdvantage
Brian, April 2, 2008
FreeCreditReport.com screws over not just people who confuse it with AnnualCreditReport.com, but those who attempt to get their report through Experian's website too.
Equifax and Transunion allow users to see their reports for free, with no strings attached on their website. If you go to Experian and try to do the same thing, it links you to freecreditreport.com. Since the other two bureaus act responsibly, why would the mark think Experian is any different?
To me it undermines any confidence I had in Experian. They are slime balls just like the people at CIC. One thing I think we need to do is pressure Experian to disassociate itself from freecreditreport.com.
Re: Other Ways to Find Yourself Enrolled in TripleAdvantage
Jeff (Editor), March 4, 2008
Here are letters from three people who knew about their right to a free credit report but were led by Experian to pay for it. What Experian is doing at AnnualCreditReport.com may even be illegal.
In a press release announcing the launch of AnnualCreditReport.com, the FTC states:
The consumer reporting companies are permitted to advertise the sale of other products on the annualcreditreport.com Web site, but cannot do so in a way that would interfere with or hinder consumers' ability to request their free report.
Granted, Experian isn't technically advertising a TripleAdvantage-laced free credit report on AnnualCreditReport.com. However, it's easy to make the mistake our first writer made:
- Visit AnnualCreditReport.com seeking your Experian credit report.
- Click the Experian logo and find a prominent free credit report offer on Experian's home page.
- Fill in the form and you've just paid for your "free" credit report.
I argue this shenanigan definitely interferes with a "consumers' ability to request their free report." Neither TransUnion nor Equifax does this on their home pages.
It just goes to show how willing Experian is to take advantage of American consumer's confusion over the 2004 law granting the right to a free annual credit report.
Jason even knew about the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) but thought the free credit report could be obtained directly from Experian. You can't and he was dinged for it.
Certainly, that "Important Information" fine print is just below the free credit report offer on Experian's home page. But when you don't have a reason to believe you are going to be charged and you trust Experian to honor their commitments under the law, it's easy to let your guard down.
People who fall into this trap will likely never trust Experian again. And I don't blame them one bit.
Don't Bother with Consumer Relations Group. Write to BBB Instead.
Dave, June 5, 2008
Has anyone successfully received a refund from the "Consumer Relations Group" in Irvine CA? I followed the instructions on this site and was promised a "1 month refund." I do not want to waste another second of time dealing with these people if there hasn't been success in the past.
The "supervisor" I spoke with (Katie # 19140) insisted that the consumer relation group "did not have incoming phone lines" and the only way to contact them was by fax or snail mail.
"You mean to tell me that there is no way to get a hold of the employees in this branch?" I asked.
"No sir," she replied.
"Well then how would one of the employees family members get a hold of them in the case of an emergency?"
She literally sat the phone down for a full 30 seconds as she chatted with her friend in their native language, while searching through her script on how to answer the question. She finally replied, "I don't know, sir."
Somehow I'm not surprised.
Does anyone find it funny that the very first option on their recording is to cancel you service?
Lesson Learned. Hopefully my refund comes.
Re: Don't Bother with Consumer Relations Group. Write to BBB Instead.
Margarita A., June 8, 2008
I recently wrote in to say I received my refund after calling TripleAdvantage on 6/3/08. I claimed a victory too soon.
Today, I checked my bank account to see if they gave me my refund we had spoken about on 6/3/08 (where they cancelled my account, and, after much runaround gave me a refund). They had charged me a second time on 6/4/08 (a day after I cancelled my account!) and then gave me my refund on 6/5/08.
I called them regarding the second charge, and to get my full refund. And, even though I was just as calm and answered their repeated "script" of "strict no refund policy" and "these charges are clearly stated in the website" similarly to last time, they refused to give me a 2nd refund, since they claimed that they can only process 1 month's worth of a refund, and that's all they're authorized to do. She also explained that the 2nd charge was already being processed and put through when I'd called to cancel the account, and that is why I was charged a 2nd time. (Right.)
I told them that I know that they give full refunds on a regular basis, but she wouldn't budge. She told me to write to Consumer Info/CRG, POB 19729, Irvine, CA 92623-9729 to inquire about getting my refund. I knew this was a runaround, and asked her how likely it would be that I would actually get my refund. She told me that was something that the "consumer relations group" would know, and that I would be contacted in 7-10 business days.
I told her that I don't know why this refund issue could not be resolved over the phone, and calmly said that if my refund request is refused, I will be enlisting the help of the Better Business Bureau and my bank, because this kind of practice is unethical.
She had no comment. I am thoroughly disgusted.
I'm pretty sure contacting this consumer relations group will be to no avail, but I am wondering if I should contact them nonetheless just in case the Better Business Bureau would look more favorably on my complaint if I were to do so? And is enlisting the help of Better Business Bureau & bank effective in getting refunds? Any (positive) feedback would be appreciated.
Re: Don't Bother with Consumer Relations Group. Write to BBB Instead.
Sarah, June 9, 2008
I've already been through this in December, 2007 for 4 months worth of charges, which I finally got a full refund thanks to the help of my bank. However, I recently checked my savings account which I have through a separate bank and there is CIC TripleAdvantage once again, with charges going back 8 months, doubling billing for four months with my other account!
I just called them once again and went through their games once more, only to get only one month refunded, and an address to write to for a full refund. Any helpful suggestions for getting my money back?
Re: Don't Bother with Consumer Relations Group. Write to BBB Instead.
Jeff (Editor), June 9, 2008
This shadowy department of an already shady company has been the subject of many e-mails as of late. The "Consumer Relations Group" (CRG) is a P.O. Box and a fax line where FreeCreditReport.Com "customers" can plead their case for a refund. Presumably, this secret tribunal weighs the merits of your case and issues a judgment on whether or not you are entitled to a refund.
Does it work? I don't know but let's just say I'm skeptical.
Instead of writing to the CRG, I recommend writing a letter to an organization that I know gets results: The Better Business Bureau (BBB).
Almost all people with legitimate complaints against TripleAdvantage get a refund when filing a complaint with the BBB. There's a good reason for this.
ConsumerInfo.Com (the CIC in CIC TripleAdvantage) is under close watch by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Part of the two judgments issued against CIC require them to maintain records of complaints from third-party organizations like the BBB.
If you write to the CRG, the complaint is just between you and CIC. If you write to the BBB, someone outside of CIC has record of the complaint.
Eventually, the FTC will hear about your BBB complaint. This ensures that CIC is on its best behavior when handling your refund request.
It doesn't hurt to write to the CRG. But when asking for a refund gets this tedious, the BBB really should hear from you.
As I said in response to a previous letter, filing a complaint not only helps you, it helps everyone.
Countrywide-TripleAdvantage Offer: It's Really Free.
Henrietta, September 10, 2008
I just received a letter from countrywide stating my identity was stolen by an employee and that the FBI provided my name as someone's whose info was stolen. They want me to sign up for Triple Advantage at their cost for two years.
It all sounds hokey to me after reading your website. I'm going to write to the FBI since they were mentioned and follow the suggestions on your site, FTC, etc.
Do you think this is a scam by Countrywide?
Re: Countrywide-TripleAdvantage Offer: It's Really Free.
Jeff (Editor), September 13, 2008
This offer is the real thing- Free TripleAdvantage for two years. After two years, the service ends automatically. I heartily recommend taking the offer.
Countrywide is making this offer because a rouge employee may have sold your personal data, including your Social Security Number. The FBI claims he sold 20,000 customer profiles at a time for $500, or 2.5 cents per person! These sales took place weekly over a two year period.
If you got this e-mail from Countrywide, you may well be one of those people with your financial data scattered over the Internet.
TripleAdvantage happens to be the same credit monitoring service behind FreeCreditReport.com. Many, many people end up paying $14.95 per month for TripleAdvantage unintentionally when seeking out that free credit report. Most of the letters on this page involve TripleAdvantage.
But there's no trap here. Unlike the sign up process for FreeCreditReport.com, the Countrywide process doesn't ask for your credit card number. Instead, they ask for the "activation code" (see picture) Countrywide sent you in the e-mail.
I called TripleAdvantage and verified that once your free two years are up, the service is canceled. There's no risk in taking the offer and a significant risk in doing nothing. I say go for it!
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Originally Published: Thursday, August 17, 2006, 5:00 PM PT
Last Updated: Saturday, July 16, 2011, 10:28 PM PT
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