Friday, August 03, 2007

Credit Card Crooks

…you want to learn how to rob a bank, or how to set one up, which is much the same thing…
*A line from “The Shadow of the Wind” by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

The above line finally got me out of my reading chair to once again point how insidious and predatory the banks and credit cards remind.

From a New York Times editorial:
…the credit card industry has stealthily adopted methods designed to maximize burdensome penalties and fees, while ratcheting up interest rates as high as 30 percent. Companies bombard unwary consumers with teaser packages that promise very low interest rates to start, while reserving for themselves the right to raise rates whenever they choose. The details are buried in deliberately arcane contracts that run 30 pages long and that even lawyers have trouble understanding.

Still more
… Under a provision known as “universal default,” a cardholder who pays a credit card company faithfully can still be hit with a high penalty interest rate for missing payments with another creditor. In another despicable tactic known as “double cycle billing,” a cardholder who pays $450 of a $500 balance is charged interest on the entire amount as opposed to the unpaid balance.

State usury laws would once have precluded many of these practices, but those have been preempted by federal regulations that are increasingly designed to make banks and credit card companies happy — rather than protect consumers
.

Our elected representatives are about to go on a month’s summer vacation at our expanse, so nothing will be done until September, and still while the Republicans have enough power to block anything to protect the consumer, nothing will be done, so be wary and limit your credit card use (this has been a public service announcement).

*the book I'm currently reading

4 comments:

Average Jane said...

Every time I read something like this it makes me extra glad that I don't have a credit card anymore. Sure, it's incredibly inconvenient sometimes (say, when needing to check into a hotel or rent a car), but the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.

Chris Arndt said...

Here are the choices.

You can get no credit card.

You can pay your creditors the money you owe them per the contract you agreed to.

You can sign a contract, fall under the circumstances where fees and fines and interest are starting to crush you, and then call upon your fellow taxpayers to unwillingly protect you.

Always keep in mind that the more that the GOVERNMENT BY THE PEOPLE OF THE PEOPLE is intervening for your benefit, the more they take FROM THE PEOPLE.

The Misanthrope said...

Government needs to make rules so companies and corporations don't take advantage of all the stupid people, like churches do.

Society needs a safety net to protect people from themselves. The society you would like took place in London around the 1700s.

Libby said...

They attack payday advance companies but the real threat to us are the banks and credit card companies, whos interest fees and late charges end up being more than the intial loan itself and the government protects these companies. Good to know who is protecting you.