myFICO®: The Importance of Reading Fine Print

So, I’ve been working on a few posts about credit scores, and I though I would go see if there’s a good source for the official FICO score on the internet.  So, how do I start research?  With Google.  Here’s what I find:

Thank you, Google!

“Free FICO Credit Score”, eh?  I’m all up for that.  Let’s take a look at what I see when I click through to myFICO.com:*

Get my FICO score? Free?

Wow, a free FICO score!  Awesome!  Sign me up!  So I click through to “YES! Get my FICO score. FREE” button and see…

Wait a second...

So I all rared up, I’m gonna get my FICO score, I’m gonna have an awesome-useful post for the blog.  Then I take a moment to look at the top:  “Special Offers”?  “Payment”!?!  Free things don’t require payment.  What’s going on?  I click my back button and see this:

Oh. No. You. Didn't!

Where did my Free FICO score offer go?  Now I have a page selling me some pricey kit featuring Suze Sellout’s Orman’s overly Photoshopped face (not pictured).**  I was finally able to bring back the original page by refreshing the page.  The secret’s in the miniscule type:

Can't see the tiny type? Squint! Squint more!

Oh, too small for you to read?  I will admit, it’s a smidgen larger on the original page.  Here’s, allow me to quote them:

*IMPORTANT INFORMATION:  When you order your free FICO® Score here, you will begin your 10-day trial membership in Score Watch®.  You may cancel at anytime[sic] within the trial period without charge, after 10 days you will be billed $14.95 for each month you continue your membership.

As usual, “IMPORTANT INFORMATION” could be code words for: “This is how we’re gonna git’cha! Heh heh heh.”

So, given that the free FICO score offered is just a gimmick to up-sell the customer to buying a monthly charge, I think I’ll decline.  While their marketing is probably entirely legal, and they disclose their plans for signing you up for charges in the future, I still think of this sort of sales tactic as smarmy.  So, no, myFICO.com, I don’t want my free FICO score if I might have to pay for some silly monitoring program.

*  No, I’m not putting in a hyperlink to myFICO.com.  I don’t want to make it easy for you to do business with them.

**  You’re welcome.

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