ConsumerInfo.com, doing business as Experian Consumer
Direct, will pay $300,000 to settle Federal Trade
Commission charges that ads for its "free credit report"
offer failed to disclose adequately that consumers who
signed up would be automatically enrolled in a credit-
monitoring program and charged $79.95. The FTC alleged
that the failure to clearly disclose the enrollment and
charges violated a previous settlement.
In August 2005, ConsumerInfo.com, paid $950,000 to
settle FTC charges that it deceptively marketed "free
credit reports." According to the FTC, Consumerinfo
offered consumers a free copy of their credit report and
added that they would provide "30 FREE days of Credit
Check Monitoring." The FTC alleged that Consumerinfo's
advertising and Web sites failed to explain adequately
that after the free trial period for the
credit-monitoring service expired, consumers
automatically would be charged a $79.95 annual
membership, unless they notified the defendant within 30
days to cancel the service. Consumerinfo billed the
credit cards that it had told consumers were "required
only to establish your account" and, in some cases,
automatically renewed memberships by re-billing
consumers without notice. In addition to the $950,000
payment, the settlement required Consumerinfo to pay
redress to deceived consumers, barred deceptive and
misleading claims about "free" offers, and required
clear and conspicuous disclosure of terms and conditions
of any "free"offer.
The FTC alleges that ConsumerInfo.com ran ads after the
settlement that violated the disclosure requirement. The
settlement requires Consumerinfo to give up $300,000 in
ill-gotten gains, and bars it from misrepresenting any
affiliation with the annual credit report available to
consumers under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
The stipulated judgment and order named ConsumerInfo.com,
Inc., doing business as Experian Consumer Direct, Qspace,
Inc., and Iplace, Inc.
The Commission vote to accept the supplemental
stipulated judgment and order was 5-0. It was filed in
United States District Court for the Central District of
California in Los Angeles.
NOTE: Stipulated judgments and orders for permanent
injunction and monetary relief are for settlement
purposes only and do not constitute an admission by the
defendant of a law violation. Stipulated judgments have
the force of law when signed by the judge.
Copies of the legal documents associated with this case
are available from the FTC's Web site at FTC.gov and
also from the FTC's Consumer Response Center, Room 130,
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580.
The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent,
deceptive, and unfair business Practices in the
marketplace and to provide information to help consumers
spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in
English or Spanish (bilingual counselors are available
to take complaints), or to get free information on any
of 150 consumer topics, call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP
(1-877-382-4357), or use the complaint form at FTC.gov.
The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft,
and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer
Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more
than 1,600 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies
in the U.S. and abroad.
Claudia Bourne Farrell,
Office of Public Affairs
Bureau of Consumer Protection
(FTC File No. X05 0065)
(Civil Action No. CV SACV05-801 AHS (MGx))
About the ICFE:
The Institute of Consumer Financial Education (ICFE) was founded in 1982 by the late Loren Dunton (creator of the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation). The ICFE is dedicated to helping consumers of all ages to improve their spending, increase savings and use credit more wisely.
The ICFE is an award winning, nonprofit, consumer education organization that has helped millions of people through its education programs and Resources. It publishes the Do-It-Yourself Credit File correction Guide, which is updated annually. The ICFE has distributed over one million Credit/Debit Card Warning Labels and Credit/Debit Card Sleeves world wide.
The ICFE became an official partner with the Department of Defense/Financial Readiness Campaign in June of 2004.The ICFE was an active partner in the California Student Debt Resource Awareness Project (CASDRAP) which resulted in a new web site: (studentdebthelp.org). CASDRAP disbanded in 2010, shortly after the web site project was completed. In 2011 the ICFE assumed the single sponsorship of the (studentdebthelp.org) web site and is now responsible for its content and operation.
The ICFE is also an on-line help for consumers who spend too much. ICFE's spending help was featured in PARADE Magazine in the Intelligence Report section. The money helps and tips are from the ICFE's Money Instruction Book, our course in personal finance.
Visit the ICFE's other web sites at: www.financial-education-icfe.org and studentdebthelp.org. Both sites helps consumers and students with mending spending, learning about the proper use of credit, budget and expense guidelines, how to set up and implement a spending-plan and also how to access financial education courses and how to teach children about money. Other ICFE services include: Ask Mr. G, a free eNews, and an online resource center for students, parents and educators, plus financial education learning tools and a book store.