Everyone’s heard of FreeCreditReport.com, right? But go to this page, and you’ll have the option of paying $39.95 for credit reports from the three major reporting companies or $14.95 for a single report from Experian. What happened to free? Well, there is a place to click for a free report. But read the fine print, “When you order your free report here, you will begin your free trial membership …” Whoa! What free membership? All I wanted was a free credit report! Worse, the “free” membership starts costing $14.95 a month if you forget to cancel during the 30-day trial period. For a FREE credit report, go to http://www.annualcreditreport.com. Granted, you won’t get your credit score for free. But you will get all the other credit information that is being reported about you. This is what you’ll need for doing a periodic check of your credit report, to make sure there are no erroneous negative entries. For more about credit reports and your rights as a consumer, visit the Federal Trade Commission at http://www.ftc.gov/credit. That site is free, too!
Filing for Federal Student Aid can be a daunting, but necessary, task for many of us. There is a Free Application for Federal Student Aid program. But if you visit FAFSA.com, you’ll discover that there is a $79.99 fee for filing this “free” application. What gives? FAFSA.com is a commercial Internet site; hence the dot-com in its name. FAFSA.com isn’t doing anything wrong. They prominently disclose their lack of affiliation with any public agency, and explain the value they add to the process (preparing your application, error-checking it and monitoring your application’s status after submission). But if you want free, then be sure to visit the U.S. Department of Education site at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov. That’s where you can file a student aid application for free. For free help in preparing and filing your free application, click the “Student Aid on the Web” link, near the upper left of the fafsa.ed.gov page.
For the rest of us, who have one or more student loan accounts that we're paying down, the National Student Loan Data System is the place to go to get a detailed listing of all our federal loans.
Legal.com - April 18, 2011, by Dave Alden
1st Quarter 2011 brought the announcement that AT&T beat out Sprint in the competition for T-Mobile, the first big cellular merger since Sprint acquired Nextel. When your cell company is acquired by another carrier, accounting errors can happen. When they do, you may pay too much or suffer a hit to your credit rating, hence this consumer alert. Read more: Cell Phone Overcharges Affect Consumers' Credit Reports