When a Story is an Ad on WCCO News

Here is a sample of the comments on a story Bill Hudson did for Channel 4 regarding a paid credit score analyzing service:

annmartina
This is news? Seems more like a free ad for this service

jwahlberg
Agreed with annamartina – this is what I call “rip-off journalism.”

dan
This is basically an ad for a credit repair service- A real story would explain the mechanics of the credit score- and explain the only “quick fix” is to lower the debt to credit ratio, and not be bait for the “service”. The other quick fix- the “authorized user” loophole has been closed. Clearly this is an ad.

B
As a loan officer I can tell you this is simply an ad. You should never have to pay anyone to improve your credit score. Simply make your payments on time, never advance up to your limit, and try to keep the debt you carry on those cards no more than 50% of your limit. Managing your finances is in no way rocket science, it’s basic common sense.

What if Bill Hudson had asked the mortgage broker what are the three most common things people could do to improve their credit score? You know, provide some value to viewers rather than turning the newscast into an infomercial. Is there a reason he didn’t? Would that have basically given away everything that the people selling this services are attempting to charge people to tell them?

I hope WCCO was paid well for this ad.

8 thoughts on “When a Story is an Ad on WCCO News”

  1. Jason, that’s a good point. It’s too bad the story didn’t actually educate people on what these companies are doing. Are they doing things people could do for themselves? If so, giving a hint of that might provide value to viewers. Are they doing something illegal? Beats me. The story didn’t get into anything other that saying that a company is willing to take your money based on an unsubstantiated promise. Is this something that applies to everyone? Also not explained.

    If Hudson had included a testimonial from someone who’d been through the service and said that they got their money’s worth, it would make more sense to me. Even if the thing someone found out was something they could have done themselves very easily, it’s certainly true that people are willing to pay to have the obvious done for them, and there is nothing wrong with that.

    Or, he could have explained what this is really all about. A quick Googling for the term helped me figure out that the only way you’re going to see an improvement in your credit score through a service like this is if you have an inaccurate piece of data on your credit report. You can run your credit reports for free. If everything is accurate, you have no negative issues that can be easily corrected. And, if you do find a piece of inaccurate information, there is no need to go through a broker unless you have short term needs to correct what you can otherwise correct yourself by contacting the reporting agencies yourself. But, I suppose that type of advice wouldn’t make the phone ring to the same degree for the mortgage brokers offering the occasionally valuable service.

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  3. I personally have done many stories on the mechanics of credit scores and the things you can do to fix them. Learning that you could pay someone to make a significant difference in the period of two weeks was new to me – and news, I’d argue.

    Certainly the long term strategies for fixing your credit score are as stated above – but “paying your bills on time” isn’t going to do much for you in two weeks, right? Unless that’s what these services suggest you do, in which case they are a rip.

  4. As I recall the TV story, there were three things mentioned that these companies do to manipulate your score: increasing credit limit on a credit card (which reduces your debt to credit ratio) was one of them.

    But your point is well-taken. An impartial expert would have helped the story.

  5. So did WCCO get paid by Rapid Credit Re-Score or not? If they did, then this is not news. It is an ad.

  6. Dan, I don’t think WCCO gets paid for this sort of thing. It’s more of a cheap, fast, and easy filler story to place between ads based on a PR pitch from a company or industry that buys TV ads.

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