Credit report - aren't I entitled to a freebie?

It has become necessary for me to check my credit report. The last time I did so, I discovered that my state (New Jersey) law req

Sorry about that…
The last time I checked my credit report, I did so for free because some provision in the law allows me to get a free report every so often. However, I find no mention of that at any of the credit bureau’s websites. Anyone know what’s up with that?

Thanks in advance.

It seems to me that anytime someone requests a copy of your report (IE: a bank, credit card company, future landlord, etc) you are entitled to a copy yourself.

The specific circumstances are:

My wife visited the ER after a fainting spell a few months ago. Although she uses her maiden name for all purposes, the hospital refused to admit her unless it was under my name. OK, whatever. Now, her insurance company is dragging their feet paying the hospital because of the ‘identity confusion,’ and the hospital has turned me over to collection.

Just call the automated lines for each of the three credit agencies and order a free copy of your report (you are entitled to one BTW in this case).

TransUnion 800-680-7289
Equifax 800-525-6285
Experian 888-397-3742.

It takes about ten minutes total. I did it last week for giggles and already have my reports.

IIRC, you can get one free copy every twelve months.
If you are a victim of fraud, you can override that.

Oops, Sorry. Those numbers that I listed above take you to the fraud division of the agencies. The correct numbers to order a (free) copy of your reports are:

Equifax: (800) 685-1111
Experian: (800) 311-4769
TransUnion: (800) 888-4213

Thanks, everyone.

One other question: when I speak to the insurance company, I intend to demand that they be responsible for having this removed from my credit report, as it is their lack of timely action that got me into this mess (seceral times they assured me it would be taken care of, and it wasn’t). Can they even do that, or can it only be removed by the collection agency? Or the hospital?

The collection agency must remove the items they placed on the report.
If the collection agency broke laws, libelled, slandered, etc, remember that you can sue the hospital as well because the collection agency acted as the agent of the hospital.
By the way, the collection agency WILL tell you that the best that they can do is mark it “Paid Collection” which hurts your credit well nigh as bad as an unpaid collection.
Do NOT accept “Paid Collection”.

These credit reporting bureau websites deliberately conceal the fact that annual credit reports must be provided free to many, many people. I had to go through about 7-8 screens until a back-end screen told me, in inconspicuous typeface, that my credit report would be free.

IMO, this is fraud itself.

Actually, it depends on the state you live in. Many state laws allow you to receive one free credit report per year, but some don’t.

Also, any time you’re denied credit you’re entitled to a free credit report after the fact.