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December 2, 2004

Credit Report? Good Luck.

The free annual credit report has now launched in the 13 western states... and has already become completely useless.

Transunion's working, I can't vouch for Experian, but Equifax's site blew up the day the service launched, and still is unable to process requests. When you actually try to run your report, you get a servlet error. It may be worth holding off for a week or so rather than wasting your time trying now.

Also, Transunion is taking the opportunity to upsell. They're requiring you to create an account with them in order to receive your credit report, defaulting to opting you in to spam, and trying to convince you to spend $6 to find out your credit score. They also haven't streamlined the process, which Equifax has. Equifax gives you one form to fill out. Transunion, after you've created a worthless account and unchecked the "please spam me every month and sell my personal information, I like it hard up the ass" box, requires you to click through two "fill in the blanks" exercises to verify you really are who you say you are. You'll also need to enter the account number for at least two of your revolving account cards, so I'm not sure how exactly you would access your credit report from Transunion if someone has been fraudulently using your identity and you only have one credit card.

Reading your credit report is creepy. I know I have excellent credit -- I get countless applications every month beaming about my spotless credit and wouldn't I please like to open an account with our bank too? And looking at the list of non-recorded promotional record requests, it's obvious why: the damn thing's a mile long. It's bizarre to look at all those companies who have just pulled your record to decide whether or not to send you an application for their service. And then you think about where they got your name and soc to begin with, and the answer is "why, Transunion!"

Thanks to this service, I now know that nobody's used my identity, and that T-Mobile mysteriously pulled my credit report last year, even though I haven't been under contract with them for a long while now.

Posted by Colin at December 2, 2004 8:14 AM

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