Saturday, January 24, 2009

Credit Card Companies are Crooks

Yeah, I just said what everyone already thinks - I mean knows. Among several, I have a Washington Mutual card - actually it is a debit card - and now that the beast known as JPMorgan Chase & Co. has eaten WaMu they sent me a letter telling me about the new terms of our agreement.

First of all, if they change an agreement and then tell me about it then it is no longer an agreement. If I OK it, then it is an agreement but for now I have not agreed to anything new. But lets not dwell on semantics.

The letter had a full page of new terms. Half were provisions that were mandatory - such as referring to the bank issuing the card as Chase Bank. OK, no prob. I'll even accept small changes in the way they calculate finance charges (remember, this is a debit card so no big deal here, either).

But there was an even larger section that was optional. Really? I can just say "no" and the new usury and ownership of my first born provisions will not apply to me? Sounds like a deal. Good thing I read this letter!

Stuff like keeping my fixed APR rate instead of going to a variable (again, remember this is a debit card and there is no APR to apply). Then there are new fees, default interest rates, treatment of certain charges as cash advances and their ability to change the agreement anytime at will. Boy, it is a good thing I can nix this stuff, even if half of it is irrelevant to me.

The final paragraph, with bold face type, leads with "Right to Opt Out" and then spells out how to do it. Of course, they want a written letter but we've come to expect this from a**-covering simps in the financial world. It's for our protection. Yeah, right. That's a steaming pile of BS.

But I read the entire paragraph. Get this line - and I sort of quote:

"If you choose to write to us, please include your name, address - blah, blah, blah - and mail it to - blah, blah."

.................Pay attention, dear readers

"If you send us such a letter, these changes will not apply."

.................So far, so good.

"Your account will then be closed and you may not use it further."

.................(head shaking double take) Whaaah?

So if I do not accept the optional changes then they close the account? Do they not understand what the term "optional" means? Why go through this stupid exercise and instead of the quick and understandable thing up front? "We are changing the terms, if you do not agree, take your business elsewhere." Thank you for your honesty, now I will decide.

I think I will just become my own credit card company. I'll put 25 grand in an account from which I will draw when I need to make purchases. Then I'll pay myself back each month from ordinary income and if I am late - whoopee! It's my money. I charge myself a fee! And then waive it!!!

After all, the reason many of us have credit cards (or debit cards) is to avoid having to carry hundreds, if not thousands of dollars around with us. And as the world changes, so we can buy things and pay our bills online. Using credit cards for actual credit - that means carrying a balance - is not part of that gig.

Mikey Credit Card Corp. Everyplace Mikey wants to be.

Oh, and as long as I am a credit card company, I think I'll apply for a bailout.

3 comments:

Blog do Ma├žaranduba said...

They have diploma, MBA, skills, but they can....yes.. they can destroy the entire american financial system.

Unbeliavable what is going nowadays in the biggest nation of the world.

Amalan said...

credit card companies are just one part of the entire financial system. For every attempt made to make the financial system more efficient, there has been many more just to push profits higher. In fact, profits are the motive for any business, so we can hardly blame them for trying to make a profit; the question is how do you tell when you are going from the "minimization of risk" mode to stepping over the line to become crooks? Practices, methods and schemes created by many over a long period of time, it is hard to draw the line to determine when ethics were breached until it is too late, so it seems like we are in for these booms and financial meltdowns forever.

I was once given an injection to freeze the area in the mouth where dental work was going to be done and then handed a statement that I had to sign to relieve the dentist of all damages. Obviously, the order in which the steps were executed seemed like a purposeful trap. Are dentists crooks too?

Kelly said...

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