Whether you’re about to finance a new car or apply for a home equity loan, knowing where you stand with a current credit report is a good thing. But getting ripped off for what’s billed as a free credit report? That’s a bad deal. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to the rescue …

The FTC stepped up this week and slapped Consumerinfo.com (a.k.a. Experian Consumer Direct) with a hefty penalty for the deceptive marketing of purportedly free credit reports. The company will have to cough up $950,000 in “ill-gotten gains” and face other penalties.

Consumers were duped into signing up for Experian’s $79.95 credit report monitoring service, not simply a complimentary credit report. Folks signed up thinking that the credit report service was free, but were whacked with the charge if the service wasn’t canceled within 30 days.

Be wary when you hear the line that goes �Your card will not be charged during the free trial period. However, valid credit card information is required to establish your account.�

If you’re about to get a credit report, be sure to check out the fine print. If you’re not satisfied that the company is on the up and up, look elsewhere.

The official FTC press release Marketer of �Free Credit Reports� Settles FTC Charges gives all the gristly details …

[tags]credit report[/tags]