BBB National Programs National Advertising Division Refers Advertising Claims Made by ConsumerTrack to Federal Trade Commission
For Immediate Release
Contact: Laura Brett, Director, National Advertising Division, 212.705.0109 / firstname.lastname@example.org
New York, NY – Feb. 14, 2020 – The National Advertising Division (NAD) has referred advertising claims made by ConsumerTrack, Inc. for its GoFreeCredit.com product to the Federal Trade Commission for further review. The advertiser did not respond to NAD’s requests to provide substantiation for its claims.
NAD is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation and is a division of the BBB National Programs’ self-regulatory and dispute resolution programs.
The express claims at issue were challenged by competitor One Technologies, LLC and included:
- “Free Credit Score”
- “Credit Report Check for $1” / “$1 Credit Report”
One Technologies contended that the challenged claims on the GoFreeCredit.com website were misleading because the advertiser fails to disclose, in close proximity to its offer, that a subscription is required. In the screen shots supplied by the challenger of GoFreeCredit.com’s mobile portal, users must scroll down the page, past the “View Score Now!” button and a Service Agreement, to read the “OFFER DETAILS” in small print. The disclosure states, “Your FREE TransUnion credit score & $1 Credit Report are available as part of a 7-day trial of our subscription-based credit monitoring service. You may cancel at any time during the trial period. At the end of the 7-day trial, you will be billed at a low cost of only $19.95 per month (plus tax where applicable).”
NAD noted that the issues raised by this challenge can be appropriately and effectively addressed by self-regulation. At issue is whether the “free” and “$1” credit report offers are misleading because prior to acting on the offers, consumers would not understand their material conditions, namely that a subscription is required. NAD has routinely provided guidance on when a disclosure is necessary to prevent a claim from being misleading, and evaluated the sufficiency of such disclosures. The guidance provided by NAD has served both consumers and multiple industries by protecting consumers from misleading advertising and promoting a level playing field whereby advertisers all play by the same set of rules.
NAD was disappointed that the advertiser did not participate in this self-regulatory process. In light of the advertiser’s failure to provide a substantive response to NAD’s request for substantiation for its claims or participate in any way in the self-regulatory process, NAD has referred the matter to the FTC for possible enforcement action.
About the National Advertising Division: National Advertising Division (NAD), a division of BBB National Programs, provides independent self-regulation overseeing the truthfulness of advertising across the U.S. NAD reviews national advertising in all media and its decisions set consistent standards for truth and accuracy.About BBB National Programs: BBB National Programs (BBB NP) fosters trust, innovation, and competition in the marketplace through the development and delivery of cost-effective, third-party self-regulation, dispute resolution and other programs. BBB National Programs is the home of industry self-regulatory and dispute resolution programs that include the National Advertising Division (NAD), National Advertising Review Board (NARB), BBB EU Privacy Shield, BBB AUTO LINE, Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU), Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI), Children’s Confection Advertising Initiative (CCAI), Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (DSSRC), Digital Advertising Accountability Program (Accountability Program), and the Coalition for Better Advertising Dispute Resolution Program (CBA DRM). The programs are designed to resolve business issues and advance shared objectives by responding to marketplace concerns to create a better customer experience. To learn more about industry self-regulation, please visit: BBBNP.org.