16 CFR 610.4 - Prevention of deceptive marketing of free credit reports.

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§ 610.4 Prevention of deceptive marketing of free credit reports.
(a) For purposes of this section:
(1) AnnualCreditReport.com and 877-322-8228 means the Uniform Resource Locator address “AnnualCreditReport.com” and toll-free telephone number, 877-322-8228. These are the locator address and toll-free telephone number currently used by the centralized source. If the locator address or toll-free telephone number changes in the future, the new address or telephone number shall be substituted within a reasonable time.
(2) Free credit report means a file disclosure prepared by or obtained from, directly or indirectly, a nationwide consumer reporting agency (as defined in section 603(p) of the Fair Credit Reporting Act), that is represented, either expressly or impliedly, to be available to the consumer at no cost if the consumer purchases a product or service, or agrees to purchase a product or service subject to cancellation.
(3) General requirements for disclosures. The disclosures covered by paragraph (b) of this section shall contain only the prescribed content and comply with the following requirements:
(i) All disclosures shall be prominent;
(ii) All disclosures shall be made in the same language as that principally used in the advertisement;
(iii) Visual disclosures shall be easily readable; in a high degree of contrast from the immediate background on which it appears; in a format so that the disclosure is distinct from other text, such as inside a border; in a distinct type style, such as bold; and parallel to the base of the advertisement or screen;
(iv) Audio disclosures shall be delivered in a slow and deliberate manner and in a reasonably understandable volume and pitch;
(v) Program-length television, radio, or Internet-hosted multi-media advertisement disclosures shall be made at the beginning, near the middle, and at the end of the advertisement; and
(vi) Nothing contrary to, inconsistent with, or that undermines the required disclosures shall be used in any advertisement in any medium, nor shall any audio, visual, or print technique be used that is likely to detract significantly from the communication of any disclosure.
(b) Medium-specific disclosures. All offers of free credit reports shall prominently include the disclosures required by this section.
(1) Television advertisements.
(i) All advertisements for free credit reports broadcast on television shall include the following disclosure in close proximity to the first mention of a free credit report: “This is not the free credit report provided for by Federal law.”
(ii) The disclosure shall appear at the same time in the audio and visual part of the advertisement. The visual disclosure shall be at least four percent of the vertical picture height and appear for a minimum of four seconds.
(2) Radio advertisements. All advertisements for free credit reports broadcast on radio shall include the following disclosure in close proximity to the first mention of a free credit report: “This is not the free credit report provided for by Federal law.”
(3) Print advertisements. All advertisements for free credit reports in print shall include the following disclosure in the form specified below and in close proximity to the first mention of a free credit report. The first line of the disclosure shall be centered and contain only the following language: “THIS NOTICE IS REQUIRED BY LAW”. Immediately below the first line of the disclosure the following language shall appear: “You have the right to a free credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com or 877-322-8228, the ONLY authorized source under federal law.” Each letter of the disclosure text shall be, at minimum, one-half the size of the largest character used in the advertisement.
(4) Internet websites. Any website offering free credit reports must display the disclosure set forth in paragraphs 610.4(b)(4)(i), (ii), and (v) of this section on each page that mentions a free credit report and on each page of the ordering process. This disclosure shall be visible across the top of each page where the disclosure is required to appear; shall appear inside a box; and shall appear in the form specified below:
(i) The first element of the disclosure shall be a header that is centered and shall consist of the following text: “THIS NOTICE IS REQUIRED BY LAW. Read more at FTC.GOV”. Each letter of the header shall be one-half the size of the largest character of the disclosure text required by 610.4(b)(4)(ii). The reference to FTC.GOV shall be an operational hyperlink to (www.ftc.gov/freereports), underlined, and in a color that is a high degree of contrast from the color of the other disclosure text and background color of the box;
(ii) The second element of the disclosure shall appear below the header required by paragraph 610.4(b)(4)(i) and shall consist of the following text: “You have the right to a free credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com or 877-322-8228, the ONLY authorized source under federal law.” The reference to AnnualCreditReport.com shall be an operational hyperlink to the centralized source, underlined, and in the same color as the hyperlink to FTC.GOV required in paragraph 610.4(b)(4)(i);
(iii) The color of the text required by paragraphs 610.4(b)(4)(i) and (ii) shall be in a high degree of contrast with the background color of the box;
(iv) The background of the box shall be a solid color in a high degree of contrast from the background of the page and the color shall not appear elsewhere on the page;
(v) The third element of the disclosure shall appear below the text required by paragraph 610.4(b)(4)(ii) and shall be an operational hyperlink to AnnualCreditReport.com that appears as a centered button containing the following language: “Take me to the authorized source”. The background of this button shall be the same color as the hyperlinks required by paragraphs 610.4(b)(4)(i) and (ii) and the text shall be in a high degree of contrast to the background of the button;
(vi) Each character of the text in paragraphs 610.4(b)(4)(ii) and (v) shall be, at minimum, the same size as the largest character on the page, including characters in an image or graphic banner;
(vii) Each character of the disclosure shall be displayed as plain text and in a sans serif font, such as Arial; and
(viii) The space between each element of the disclosure required in paragraphs 610.4(b)(i), (ii), and (v) shall be, at minimum, the same size as the largest character on the page, including characters in an image or graphic banner. The space between the boundaries of the box and the text or button required in paragraphs 610.4(b)(i), (ii), and (v) shall be, at minimum, twice the size of the vertical height of the largest character on the page, including characters in an image or graphic banner.
(5) Internet-hosted multi-media advertising. All advertisements for free credit reports disseminated through Internet-hosted multi-media in both audio and visual formats shall include the following disclosure in the form specified below and in close proximity to the first mention of a free credit report. The first line of the disclosure shall be centered and contain only the following language: “THIS NOTICE IS REQUIRED BY LAW.”. Immediately below the first line of the disclosure the following language shall appear: “You have the right to a free credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com or 877-322-8228, the ONLY authorized source under federal law.” The disclosure shall appear at the same time in the audio and visual part of the advertisement. If the advertisement contains characters, the visual disclosure shall be, at minimum, the same size as the largest character on the advertisement.
(6) Telephone requests. When consumers call any telephone number, other than the number of the centralized source, appearing in an advertisement that represents free credit reports are available at the number, consumers must receive the following audio disclosure at the first mention of a free credit report: “The following notice is required by law. You have the right to a free credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com or 877-322-8228, the only authorized source under federal law.”
(7) Telemarketing solicitations. When telemarketing sales calls are made that include offers of free credit reports, the call must include at the first mention of a free credit report the following disclosure: “The following notice is required by law. You have the right to a free credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com or 877-322-8228, the only authorized source under federal law.”
(c) Effective date. This section is effective April 2, 2010, except for the wording of the disclosures for television and radio advertisements (paragraphs 610.4(b)(1)(i) and (2)), which are effective on September 1, 2010.
[75 FR 9745, Mar. 3, 2010]

Title 16 published on 2013-01-01

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