In preparation for February 1st, when Quebec residents will finally be able to place credit freezes with the credit bureaus, I created user accounts with both Equifax and TransUnion so I could manage the freezes from there. As I had already created the accounts, I wanted to access my free credit report, as mandated by law. The process with Equifax was very straightforward, but TransUnion's website still hasn't worked for me. There are two details about the webpage I'd like to highlight.
1. The regular sign-up method tries to sell you a subscription
I tried creating my account by going to the main page, then clicking on "Member Login", and then on "Sign up". Lo and behold, I have a nice "You Have Chosen: TransUnion Credit Monitoring for $24.95/month" box on the side. No, I haven't.
The right way to create an account without any associated product is to follow Government of Canada's official guide on how to get one's credit report for free, where they link to TransUnion's "Consumer Disclosure" page, and from there you can click on this link and manage to create an account without any subscription attached to it.
2. The "Online Consumer Solutions" page doesn't work
The page that TransUnion uses to provide the free credit report (called "Consumer Disclosure" by them) works, if by "works" we mean crashing in three different ways:
Logging you out immediately after logging in because you've been idle "for more than 20 minutes."
Showing this nice error message: "Unfortunately, the Web site has encountered a temporary issue with your request. We apologize for the inconvenience." It's been temporary for the last couple of weeks.
A page not redirecting properly error.
I stopped trying after a while, but I'm sure I might have found new and thrilling error messages if I kept at it.
3. Special mention: the phone service
I dislike talking to corporations on the phone because I prefer to keep a written record of what was discussed. However, TransUnion announces a "Interactive Voice Response system" in their PDF form to request the free credit report, so I was curious.
I called the number shown on the document, and after selecting 1 for English language, I heard the following message: "If you are calling from a mobile device, you can skip waiting on hold and speak to our agents via mobile messaging. To receive a text message from us now, please press 1." That looks interesting. After pressing 1, I received a text message and the call was automatically terminated. This was the message:
Welcome to TransUnion. To start your conversation please click on the following link, which will redirect you to TransUnion Chat. Link: https://www.transunion.ca/customer-support/main
Please do not disclose personal information unless requested by a live agent. To stop receiving messages, reply STOP. For help, reply HELP.
Yes, the page is TransUnion's customer support page, where they list ways to contact them.
I guess someone's KPIs have gone through the roof because customers choose to end many calls by themselves after a few seconds.
Why do I have to deal with this crap?
Not long ago, Equifax uploaded to YouTube a webinar in which they list practical details on how they plan to implement Quebec's Bill 53. It's interesting to watch, if only to get a glimpse of how credit bureaus work internally. The minute 18:30 contains a phrase that everybody should acknowledge:
"We're all consumers, and consumers are customers."
And that's why I have to deal with these two companies. I have no choice. That's also why the service quality is so dreadful.