False Advertising By "Pirate Guys"; No Free Credit Reports

J Thomas Black
Board Certified, Consumer Bankruptcy Law- Texas Board of Legal Specialization

I watch that “Pirate Guys” ad, and besides it being rather snarky, I always knew there must be some kind of a catch. Bingo! An organization that I belong to, the Americans for Fairness in Lending, has figured it out. The Pirate Guys pitch is not really free. To get your annual free credit reports as guaranteed by federal law, you must go to www.annualcreditreport.com, and no other.

The AFFIL email message that alerted me to this is below. And if you want to comment to the Federal Trade Commission, to make the Pirate Guys clean up their act, please do.

Everyone seems to know the “Pirate Guys” who sing about Free Credit Reports in TV ads.  But did you know that the free credit reports they advertise aren’t really free


If you listen very closely at the end of the ad, you’ll hear them admit that the free offer is contingent upon enrollment in an un-free program.  Unsurprisingly, many people enroll and enter their credit card information as part of the process, only to be surprised when fees show up on their credit card statements later on.

The new Credit CARD Law requires the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to clean up misleading ads like this with some new regulations.  The FTC is asking for public comments to shape its regulations – so take this opportunity to tell them what you think about misleading, deceptive ads.  Have you personally been misled into signing up for one of these services thinking you were getting your free reports?  If so, be sure to tell the FTC about it.

The FTC is proposing some enhanced disclosures which will be a big help.  Click here to tell them to keep the proposal strong!

Click here for more information about the FTC’s proposal, andhere for more information about credit reports.

And remember, to obtain your yearly free credit reports, visitwww.AnnualCreditReport.com.  Other sites aren’t really free!

Thank you,
Sarah Byrnes

Campaign Manager, AFFIL
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Americans for Fairness
in Lending
7 Winthrop Square, 4th Floor, Boston, MA 02110