‘Free Credit Reports’ Rule Applies to TV, Radio Ads on Sept. 1

AnnualCreditReport.comThe new required disclaimer for credit monitoring services promoting “free credit reports” on websites and print publications took effect April 2.
Those ads must remind consumers that they are entitled to one free credit report from each credit bureau under federal law, and provide the official link: AnnualCreditReport.com.
Websites must do so clearly along the top of each webpage, and print publications must provide a disclaimer “in close proximity to the first mention of a free credit report.”
The Federal Trade Commission initiated the new rule to clarify misleading ads by companies that may provide a credit report, but actually charge for credit monitoring or credit protection services.
But what about those somewhat amusing, and sometimes annoying, “free credit report” television commercials? One in particular has a band of musician slackers lamenting their poor credit.
The FTC is giving credit monitoring service providers until Sept. 1 to add the disclosures in their radio and television commercials.
Starting then, advertisements for free credit reports on television must include the following disclosure: ‘This is not the free credit report provided for by Federal law.’’
The disclosure also applies to a voice-over disclaimer during radio commercials.
The FTC said the rule is comparable to “Federal Election Commission requirements for the disclosure of the funding source of a political advertisement on television.”
Here’s a breakdown of the new requirements:
Television advertisements
All advertisements for free credit reports broadcast on television must include the following disclosure in close proximity to the first mention of a free credit report:
‘‘This is not the free credit report provided for by Federal law.’’ 
– The disclosure shall appear at the same time in the audio and visual part of the advertisement.
– The visual disclosure shall be at least four percent of the vertical picture height and appear for a minimum of four seconds.
Radio advertisements.
Advertisements broadcast on radio must include the following disclosure in close proximity to the first mention of a free credit report: ‘‘This is not the free credit report provided for by Federal law.’’
Print advertisements.
Advertisements must include the following disclosure in close proximity to the first mention of a free credit report. The first line of the disclosure shall be centered and contain only the following language:
‘‘THIS NOTICE IS REQUIRED BY LAW’’.
– Immediately below the first line of the disclosure the following must appear:
‘‘You have the right to a free credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com or 877-322-8228, the ONLY authorized source under federal law.’’
– Each letter of the disclosure text shall be, at minimum, one-half the size of the largest character used in the advertisement.
Internet websites.
Any website offering free credit reports must display the on each page that mentions a free credit report and on each page of the ordering process.  This disclosure shall be visible across the top of each page where the disclosure is required to appear; shall appear inside a box; and shall appear as such:
‘‘NOTICE IS REQUIRED BY LAW. Read more at FTC.GOV
You have the right to a free credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com
or 877-322-8228, the ONLY authorized source under federal law.”
– The link to the FTC in the disclosure must go directly http://ftc.gov/freereports

One thought on “‘Free Credit Reports’ Rule Applies to TV, Radio Ads on Sept. 1

  • April 8, 2010 at 7:18 pm
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    Pre-Existing Conditions? Exclusions? Rescission? Just as financial companies rely on “credit reports” to establish credit for customers, insurance companies utilize “medical report” files to assess the health, determine the insurability, and set the price for insurance applicants and policyholders. Under federal law, these corporations are classified as “nationwide specialty consumer reporting agencies” and must comply with certain legal requirements (though they do not have the same rules as the major consumer reporting agencies Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. In addition to the Medical Information Bureau Inc. (MIB), the companies Ingenix Inc. and Milliman Inc. also sell consumer reporting profiles to insurance companies. For example, “Denied Insurance Because of a Medical Coding Error in Her MIB Report”
    https://www.annualmedicalreport.com/denied-insurance-because-of-a-medical-coding-error-in-her-mib-report-video/
    Most consumers and even many insurance agents are unaware that Humana, UnitedHealth Group , Aetna (AET), Blue Cross plans, and other insurance giants have ready access to applicants’ prescription histories. These online reports, available to insurers in seconds from a pair of little-known intermediary companies, typically include voluminous information going back five years on dosage, refills, and possible medical conditions. The reports also provide a numerical score predicting what a person may cost an insurer in the future.
    https://www.annualmedicalreport.com/prescription-analytics-corporate-databases-track-whats-in-your-medicine-cabinet/
    An investigation in 2008 by the Federal Trade Commission found that the two companies supplying these pharmacy profiles—Ingenix Inc. and Milliman Inc.—violated federal law for years by keeping the system hidden from consumers. But the FTC has merely required disclosure if prescription information causes denial of coverage or some other adverse action; the agency imposed no penalties.
    Remember, the new health care reform laws in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act don’t go in effect until 2014! All insurance applicants and policyholders should request an annual copy of their medical report files from the nationwide specialty nationwide consumer reporting agencies to ensure they aren’t overpaying for insurance or in danger of policy rejection or rescission for pre-existing conditions or errors.

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