Dan Gillmor: You’re well-advised to know what your credit report says about you, in this age of identity theft and data-mongering by companies that seem indifferent to the damage they cause in the process of selling our most private information to almost anyone who’ll pay for it.

You’re also supposed to be able to get a free report every year from the “Big Three” credit companies — Experian, Equifax and Trans Union — by going to AnnualCreditReport.com and filling in the appropriate information.

Nice idea. But if your experience is like mine, good luck. I managed to get only my Experian report. The other two companies’ sites refused to cooperate.

The Equifax server returned an error message — and then claimed I’d already gotten a report when I tried again.

Trans Union’s site asked me to input my credit card numbers (and other information) for verification, and then insisted that an absolutely correct number for one card was incorrect. The site eventually kicked me out, and said to call or write for the report.

If you’ve ever tried to deal with these companies on the phone, you know the futility. But I’ll have to do it. I’ll let you know what further nonsense they put me through.

Note: If you’ve used the AnnualCreditReport.com site, feel free to post about your experience below. I can’t believe I’m the only one who’s not having much luck with this.

More here.