Free Turns to Fee


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The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) recently reminded us, in an alert, that free can quickly turn to a fee.

IC3 has received more than 2,000 complaints regarding a particular website claiming to offer “free” credit services such as credit scores and credit monitoring. Customers reported being charged a monthly service fee. However, the terms of the agreement advised that the “free” report only lasts for a limited time. At the end of the free term, the website used the customer’s supplied financial information to charge a monthly membership fee ranging from $19.95 to $29.95.

The terms and agreement from the website states the following: “For Subscription Services which include a free-trial period, if you do not cancel your free trial within the free trial period, you will be charged at the monthly rate in effect at the time for the Subscription Services for which you enrolled. Your debit or credit card (including, if applicable, as automatically updated by your card provider following expiration or change in account number) will continue to be charged each month at the applicable monthly rate unless and until you cancel the Subscription Services.” (“Scam Alerts,” 2012, para. Free Credit Service Website).

The website, according to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), has been given an “F” rating by the BBB for the following reasons:
  • 1037 complaints filed against the business.
  • 8 complaints filed against the businesses that were not resolved.
  • 17 serious complaints filed against business.
  • Advertising issue(s) found by the BBB.
Used with permission. ©2012. NW3C, Inc. d/b/a the National White Collar Crime Center. All rights reserved.

Scam Alerts. (2012, August). Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). Retrieved from
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