I was trying check my credit score recently on Experian. I learned that since I live in Massachusetts, I am entitled to a free credit report each year. So I went to the website, entered my information and got the following error message:
"We're sorry. We are unable to process your request online. We understand that the privacy and security of your information is important to you; therefore we cannot provide a specific reason as to why we cannot deliver your report online. Our registration process is designed to ensure that your online personal credit report is released only to you."
Yes, they said, “we cannot provide a specific reason as to why we cannot deliver your report online.” What? Not only can the not give me the information the are required by law to give me, but they can’t even tell me why!
One might guess that the reason these companies make it extremely difficult or impossible to get a free credit report is because they don’t want to give away their service for free. Seems like a reasonable explanation, but it also seems like they are missing a terrific opportunity to upsell their other products.
Their basic service of providing credit reports is a commodity. To the average consumer, there is absolutely no difference between the three credit companies. Why should I purchase credit reports from one company over another?
Consider an alternative scenario: instead of making it difficult/impossible to extract my credit report, imagine that one site makes the process simple and convenient. Which site would I be likely to purchase a fancier credit product from?
This seems like an entire industry in need of marketing help. Why not nail the easy stuff, delight and impress your consumers, and then soft sell them premium products?
Maybe I’m misreading the situation, but this seems like a missed opportunity to me. Of course maybe management is thinking, “this strategy could spark a race among the credit companies to provide great customer service, and then when happens when everyone offers great customer service?” Well, then they might have to innovate (gasp!) to steal share from other companies. Regardless, providing good customer service would likely grow the market sufficiently to cover the additional cost of developing a decent web interface. Plus the first company to change would benefit from a reputation as “the friendly credit people.”