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Experian Review – Credit Scores And Reports

Experian Review – Credit Scores And Reports

Experian is a credit scoring agency that also allows people to see their credit rating and credit report. You are legally entitled to at least one free credit report every year, but Experian doesn’t make it easy. Let us cut to the conclusion and say that you should stay away from Experian. You can get genuinely free credit reports from other companies such as Credit Karma and Credit Sesame. Experian, Equifax and TransUnion all have a “Free Trial” system that I feel is very unfair, and I am not alone in that opinion.

What Does Experian Do?

Experian allows you to see your credit rating, part of your banking history, and your credit report. You can get the same thing from other companies that offer genuinely free credit reports, but Experian (and TransUnion and Equifax) offer a little extra. The information these three give you is a little more detailed than what you get from other companies. The extra information they offer is not of vital importance unless you are undertaking a special project. If you are trying to improve your credit rating, the extra information that Experian offers is not needed.

Experian Is One Of Three Credit Scoring Companies

Experian and the other two credit agencies offer a more detailed credit report. It is the same credit report they hand over to creditors when you apply for credit. The detailed information is little use to you, but it is of vital importance to creditors because they plug the information into their mathematical algorithms to assess your risk as a borrower. If you are denied by a creditor, you have a legal right to see the credit report that Experian, Equifax or TransUnion handed over to your creditor.

Since it is late 2017, and the fury over the security leak with Equifax is still raging, I should mention that Experian are jumping all over the opportunity to get new customers. Aside from their usual services, they are offering extended identity theft protection. When they say “Concerned about the Equifax® data breach?
Find out how Experian can help,”
they are not actually talking about repairing the damage that may have been caused as a result of Equifax, they are promising better protection in the future so you can be doubly sure that your identity is not stolen while you use Experian. Obviously, this protection comes with a chunky monthly fee.

The Free Trial…Unfairness

All three of the credit scoring agencies (TransUnion, Experian and Equifax) allow you to see your credit rating and credit report if you sign up with them. However, even though you are signing up for their free account, they all enroll you onto their paid subscription automatically. All three say that you are getting your free account, and you are getting a free trial of their premium subscription. That is not how they word it, but that is what happens.

With each company, including Experian, you are given a free trial of their premium subscription, and if you want to avoid paying for it, then you have to cancel your free trial within thirty days. Yet, canceling your account is difficult because you have to call the customer service department, you have to wait on hold, you have to get through, and then you finally have to convince the customer support worker that you really really really want to cancel your free trial.

What is worse is that you only have thirty days to cancel your free trial before they start charging you for it. You are charged at the end of the month, and many people are unaware that they are going to be charged because of the way it was worded when they signed up.

Here is a snapshot image of some of the Experian users on ConsumerAffairs.com who all seem to have had this same problem. Take a look at online user reviews and you will see the same story.

Negative reviews about Experians free trial

Another Little Problem…

The premium account, which is the one you are auto-enrolled into under the guise of a free trial, will cost you $9.99 to start. However, after a few months, the price jumps up after a few months. Plus, you may also be enrolled into their Experian IdentityWorks Premium plan, which costs an additional $19.99. If you don’t like it, then all Experian says is that, “You are free to cancel your account at any time.”

Quite a number of people are unaware that they are being signed up to a free trial for the premium account, and many people are unaware that they are charged for their subscription after their free trial ends. That is one of the many reasons why Experian has a simply terrible online reputation. There are over 1000 negative or poor user reviews about Experian on ConsumerAffairs.com On ConsumerAffairs.com (as with many other user review websites), Experian has a one star rating. Experian has a terrible online reputation, yet it doesn’t seem to affect their profits because the company is worth over $40 billion.

Hopping On My Soap Box For A Second

All three of the credit scoring agencies have the “Free Trial” offer, which makes them all as bad as each other. There are services on the Internet that allow people to see their credit rating, credit report, and part of their banking history for free with no strings or free trials attached.

In this day and age, there is no need to pay companies such as Experian, Equifax and TransUnion when there are other companies out there that give you almost all of the same information for free. Should credit scoring companies be able to make a profit? Sure they should, but not with sleazy “Free-But-Not-Free” offers. They should do it fairly by selling their service rather than suckering people into it.

Experian – Pros

Personally, I think Experian, Equifax and TransUnion are poorly run companies that offer a substandard product to their consumers. Yet, Experian and TransUnion have a few positive sides that Equifax doesn’t. I will go into a few more of the negative things surrounding Experian, but let’s cover a few of their pros first because they do have the edge over Equifax (currently true Oct 2017).

  • They have a toll-free number that you can call where you are firstly transferred to an automated system, but you may also talk to a person if you stay on hold. I don’t mind if they put people on hold if their number is toll free.
  • Contact Experian about making changes or contesting an entry in your credit report, and you may have to deal with quite a few rude or nasty customer service people, but you may get a result without too much effort. Try to contest or change an entry yourself by dealing with Experian directly before you try a lawyer or credit-error fixing company/specialist.
  • Experian seems to keep its records up to date. I know there are quite a few negative reviews online about this company being a few months behind at times, but if it were a big issue then there would be far more negative reviews about it online. Plus, the negative reviews around this issue tend to be in clusters, which suggests temporary systems problems rather than a repetitive error on Experian’s part.

Experian – Cons

  • Canceling the free trial is too difficult. You have to speak to somebody, and I am fairly sure they are on commission for keeping people signed up because you have to actually convince the customer support worker to cancel your free trial so that you are not lumbered with the monthly fee.
  • Quite a few people have complained about how they have called to cancel their free trial and/or their paid account and then it has not been canceled. There are even people who say they were promised by the customer service department worker and yet they were still billed for the service month after month.
  • The subscription fee bounces up, and I know that Experian say they give people fair warning, but many people would disagree. Take a look at forums and online complaints websites and you will see people who have been stung by Experian’s subscription fees jumping up.
  • The customer service department is not great. It is true that they are better than a certain other credit scoring company that has already been mentioned, but they are not going to win any prizes for customer support any time soon.
  • They will not allow you to sign up for an account without giving your credit card or bank card details. This is because when you forget to cancel the “free” account, you are charged on your card for it. Even if don’t forget to cancel it, you are going to have a hard time going through the motions to cancel it.

They Really Love Their Fees

Want something from Experian, then they are going to find a way to charge you. This even includes if you want a credit freeze because Experian messed up. Be fair warned that Experian throw the word “Free” around quite a bit, and yet they would charge you for the snot off the end of your nose if you didn’t have a tissue.

Is Experian Right For Me?

No, Experian is not right for you. In my opinion, you can do a lot better. I would only suggest this company if you are willing to pay their high fees every month, and if you are using that information for a project that couldn’t survive without it. If you are planning on using the information you get from Experian to help you improve your credit rating, then go elsewhere because you can get the information elsewhere. To repeat myself, only go for Experian or TransUnion (not Equifax) if you are working on a project with more-detailed credit reports are a necessity.

About The Author

Ash The Great

After a varied career in different industries from the hospitality industry to the financial consultancy industry, Ash now spends his days working as a professional writer.

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