Experian knows a lot more about you than you know about them, and everything they know about you is up for sale.
You might think of Experian as “the credit bureau”—a repository of your financial history, the good, the bad and the ugly. And, yes, they’re all that … all that and so much more.
Experian knows all about your cars, businesses, insurance policies and lifestyle. And, if someone offers them money for it, they’ll even send someone to interview your friends, neighbors and associates to learn more about your character, reputation, personal characteristics and mode of living.
Experian boasts on their website that they hold credit information on 215 million Americans. They have title and registration data on 450 million vehicles. Every year, more than 100 million American households receive more than 20 billion pieces of advertising, all thanks to the databases Experian sells.
What their website doesn’t tell you about is the legal problems the Dublin-based company has in the United States.
Most of Experian’s problems are related to the “freecreditreport.com” marketing and sales of their Triple Advantage credit monitoring service—a subscription service that costs $79.95 a year.
The Federal Trade Commission has repeatedly investigated, found guilty and fined Experian for deceptive advertising, charging consumers’ credit cards without permission, failing to cancel subscriptions during the “free” trial period, or even letting consumers know they have the option of canceling.
The Florida Attorney General’s office has been investigating Experian since 2006. The AG’s office is looking into accusations that Experian’s marketing and sales of their Triple Advantage credit monitoring service violated the state’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.
Some of Experian’s problems are only public relations headaches, like the time Privacy International “honored” Experian with the Big Brother Award for being the UK’s most invasive company.
And then there’s the time FTC gave Experian’s customer service practices a grade of “F” because they refused to provide consumers with a customer service phone number.