Thursday, July 16, 2009

Ben Stein: Predatory bait-and-switch merchant

By Felix Salmon from Reuters Blogs:
How far has Ben Stein sunk? Far enough that I feel compelled to resuscitate the Ben Stein Watch, just to share this unfunny and positively harmful TV ad which is now being aired.

“I went to and found out my score for free”, says Ben, while an annoying squirrel holds up a sign with the word “FREE” in some horrible brush-script font.

A few points are worth noting here. First, the score itself is not very useful to consumers. What’s useful is the report — if there’s an error on the report, then the consumer can try to rectify it. Secondly, and much more importantly, if you want a free credit report, there’s only one place to go: That’s the place where the big three credit-rating agencies will give you a genuinely free copy of your credit report once a year, as required by federal law.

You won’t be surprised to hear that is not free: in order to get any information out of them at all, you have to authorize them to charge you a $29.95 monthly fee. They even extract a dollar out of you up front, just to make sure that money is there.
...Read more
(via Pharyngula)

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