Thursday, April 11, 2013

Shame on you Experian

Nothing against credit reporting agencies. I believe they serve a noble purpose in society. Not to say that I did not have problems with them. A couple of years back, I found that my credit report contained a couple of issues (fully resolved, not a cent due for many years) dating back almost 20 years ago,  plus a tax lien that should not have been there, for it was also mistakenly filed by the tax authority, which by the way, was not even federal. Beats me how much communication there is between creditors and bureaus, once matters do get solved. Apparently, not much.

Notwithstanding this contretemps, I do not loathe them as enemies. They help  a smoother running society, I always thought.

The other day, I decided to get my free copy of a credit report, which I am entitled to once a year. I kept on getting calls from a collection agency, calling my name, however, the last four digits of the SS were different. Just in case, I thought I should check.

That site run by the three major agencies was of no help. It kept on asking questions that made no sense, and when I replied them in the negative, I was told I needed to provide more identification for security reasons. That raised a flag, so I went to the Experian site.

On that site, I was told I could get a US$1 Credit Report immediately. Hey, almost for free, good deal. I just went for it. Of course, there was a catch. I would be charged 1 buck for that report, however, that meant I would agree to subscribing to a service they offer for 17 bucks and change a month. I could cancel the subscription within 7 days, though, and nothing would additional be charged.

So I decided to do it. These are the folks that oversee credit in the USA, they would not play hooky, would they? I signed up for everything online. Easy as a breeze, and my credit report was clean, good credit rating so I was happy as Madonna when she says something stupid. All I would need was remembering that I had seven days to cancel the US$204.00 annual additional expense I can do without - yes, 17 bucks a month adds up to about 204 dollars annually.

My memory has not gone to the dumps as much as I thought, and seven days after I signed up, I remembered that I needed to cancel the unwanted subscription.

Then, the first surprise.

As with most companies, signing up for things is easy. 1-2-3, everything on-line no problem. To cancel, though, it is an altogether different story. I needed to call a number, and you know what that means. Waiting on the line for quite a few minutes.

I decided that there was no way I would get stuck with the US$204.00 expense that would probably go on forever, or at least until my credit card expires. So I waited, and waited, then I got this cheerful female voice on the phone.

I explained my intent. Then she started telling me about the advantages, blah, blah, blah, blah. She was very pleasant, so I reconfirmed my intent, once again, and she continued babbling about how my life would be so much better with their service. Once I rejected the offer one more time, then she hit me. "Well, today we are offering nice subscribers such as you at 50 % off, with the same benefits".

That totally outraged me. These are, after all, the sparkling clean folks who are supposed to protect uf from crooks, yet, their flip flop tactic, although not illegal, is a bit immoral if you ask me. If they can make money running this "program", which is not really a program, the information is just sitting there, for 8 dollars and change, why offer it for 17? I do not dream of doing this in my business. I have my price, and I will just negotiate up to a certain extent if the client is extremely pushy, but I never do a switch and bait. This is the stuff of dishonest lemon-car salesmen, not a reputable credit reporting agency.

The one thing that really annoyed me was that she was trying to convince me that I was lucky enough that the offer was available TODAY! She was trying to convince me what a lucky human being I was, right day to call and cancel! Maybe I should recheck my lotto tickets!!!!

Well, the end of story is, I still rejected the offer, and gave the pleasant lady a pleasant piece of my mind, saying this was a despicable marketing technique, blah blah blah.

Is this the stuff MBA's are learning at Harvard?