When armed with a free credit report, few car shoppers use it for bargaining

Jim Henry is a special correspondent for Automotive News
We've all seen commercials for FreeCreditReport.com, with the catchy jingles. Meanwhile, consumer-advice Web sites tell people to check their credit before they apply for an auto loan.

The Consumer Data Industry Association says that more than 25 million people check their credit annually on one Web site alone, the government-recommended AnnualCreditReport.com, for all purposes, not just auto loans.

So, do lots of car shoppers show up armed with credit reports, maybe using gold-plated credit as a negotiating tactic? Not really, according to interviews with several F&I experts last week. And they weren't sure why not. Maybe only those with credit problems check their credit?

Sorry, if a FreeCreditReport.com jingle is now stuck in your head.