Who Hijacked Our Country

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Schizoid Credit Card Companies

Talk about mixed signals. “Pay up, F#$%!#$!%#in’ Deadbeat! If you can’t afford it, don’t buy it!”

“Shop! Consume! Buy now, pay later! Get out there and use that credit card, F#$%!#$!%#in’ Deadbeat!” If an individual was spewing out contradictory messages like that, he’d probably find himself tucked away in a padded room, with no sharp objects around.

You can actually get your card canceled and your credit rating reduced because you aren’t spending and borrowing enough. Chase, Bank of America, Capital One, American Express and Citibank are all cracking down on these worthless parasites who refuse to buy things they can’t afford.

And speaking of mixed messages, the Pope gave the people of Angola a stern lecture on the evils of sorcery. And by golly he’s right. Sorcery??? How primitive!

Come on, natives — times are changing. Get with it.

You should be more like us.

cross-posted at Bring It On!

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Anonymous S.W. anderson said...

I'm not so put off by credit card issuers cancelling cards not used in a year or more. That's understandable. What ticks me off is that the card issuers don't make their policy on that clear up front, in plain language, in type large enough and set narrow enough to actually be readable without a magnifying glass.

Their whole game is to constantly troll for new customers in hopes of adding ones who will regularly run a month-to-month balance owed, never defaulting but rarely and only briefly being paid up. That's their ideal customer type, the ones who make possible the credit card company executives' fabulous profits, salaries, benefits and bonuses.

So, to get more of their target customers, the companies push their cards to more people than they should, knowing they'll cut a bunch out over time. They're so anxious to keep adding ideal customers that they'll suffer hordes of those who rarely or never use the cards, and others who default.

Which is why interest rates are so high, and why the built-in gotcha if a customer ever gets behind are so horrendous. Things like the rate jumping from 9.5 percent to 21 percent after a late payment or two, even if a customer has paid on time and in full for decades.

March 22, 2009 at 4:17 PM  
Anonymous Benjamin Solah said...

That's so funny that you posted this because my latest post draws out the same stupid contradictions.

March 22, 2009 at 5:33 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

SW: It's all those built-in "gotcha" clauses that really piss me off. More industries seem to be making more money from hidden fees and penalties than from just making a product that people want to buy.

I can see why credit card companies don't want customers who never borrow, but for people to have their credit scores reduced because they're too thrifty -- that's just perverted.

Benjamin: Cool, I'll check out your post.

March 22, 2009 at 6:29 PM  
Anonymous Carlos said...

That's hilarious! This is the same industry that said consumer fraud justified their high interest rates while refusing to incorporate more stringent security measures to protect the consumer and reduce fraud. You know, like a photograph on the credit card itself…

And don’t get me started on those “convenience” checks they send to everyone and their mother who owns a credit card. :-)

March 23, 2009 at 3:00 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Carlos: I keep thinking I'm not gonna do any more posts on banks and credit card firms; but then news stories like this keep coming up.

I think fraud and ID theft serve the credit card companies' own interest. In any case, they sure make it a low priority. If they thought it was important, they could do a lot more to prevent it.

March 23, 2009 at 12:52 PM  
Blogger Lew Scannon said...

So basically the pope is saying, sorcery doesn't work, but praying to ceramic statues does.
And people look to him for spiritual guidance.

March 23, 2009 at 1:09 PM  
Blogger Ricardo said...

Ah the Pope. Better I say nothing because it's a lot and not polite.

I don't care how these clowns rate me on paper, I'm not using credit cards or buying into that game anymore. Want to rate me a 0? Go right ahead. It does not scare me. and that makes me their worst nightmare. What people need to see is that they need us more than we need them. They don't empower ups, the cripple us.

March 23, 2009 at 3:00 PM  
Anonymous S.W. anderson said...

Tom wrote: ". . .but for people to have their credit scores reduced because they're too thrifty -- that's just perverted."

I suspect that's happening because, even with credit card companies dumping people with good credit habits simply for not borrowing, the credit rating services are stupidly categorizing all consumers who have a credit card cancelled as "slow pay/no pay."

Can you say dumb and dumber?

March 23, 2009 at 4:03 PM  
Anonymous Bee said...

The credit card companies are the bottom feeders, and they'll be holding their hands out to Congress soon, because theirs is the next industry to fail miserably. Gee, there's something to look forward to.

Congress: "So, you single handedly destroyed what was left of the economy, and you want how much??"

Capital One: "Uh, sorry 'bout that (sheepish grin)...how about $20 billion to start?"

Congress: "You dastardly scoundrels! Ok, here's your check..."

March 23, 2009 at 4:18 PM  
Blogger Demeur said...

Bee - You have that right. And they better hurry up about it before the rules change next year.

Hey Tom what's AIGs new name? I didn't catch that one yet. Notice how Blackwater changed its' name to Xe. Most criminals do change their names.

March 23, 2009 at 6:02 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Lew: Yes, that's pretty much it. Communing with nature -- evil. Praying to ceramic statues -- good.

Ricardo: The ideal situation is where you rely so little on credit that it doesn't matter what your credit score is. If enough people do that, those companies will collapse. (And then of course we'll have to bail them out.)

SW: "Dumb and Dumber" sounds about right.

Bee: Yes, I can easily imagine that conversation. Congress might pretend to be outraged, but in any case they'll fork over the money.

Demeur: AIG is now AIU Holdings Ltd. A name change -- that was all they needed.

March 23, 2009 at 7:54 PM  
Anonymous JollyRoger said...

I destroyed 2 of my 3 credit cards last year, which I am certain gave my score a ding. Frankly, I just do not give a good god damn anymore.

March 23, 2009 at 8:40 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

JR: We have two credit cards which we hardly ever use. And if either of them dumps us and we get a lower credit score, I don't give a flying fuck.

March 24, 2009 at 12:25 AM  
Blogger Randal Graves said...

Hey, does Pope Rat still have that crack squad of traveling exorcists on call?

March 24, 2009 at 7:57 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Randal: Ah yes, the traveling exorcist squad -- don't leave home without it.

March 24, 2009 at 12:17 PM  
Blogger DB said...

I think this is nothing more than credit card company sabre rattling to somehow convince people to spend more money (ya, we all take our orders from the credit card companies). Whatever they are doing, it is solely in their best interests to close cards as they can honestly care less about the customer. How do I know? I was one of them who was forced to push cards (and other products) on customers under the threat of termination. You honestly think a banker is going to give you the low down on how bad the cards are? Or your mortgage? No. They are going to paint a pretty picture in order to sell the card. Ethics don't exist in banking. If banks are closing cards, it is to protect themselves and nothing more.

March 24, 2009 at 6:43 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

DB: Yup, they're pretty cold and ruthless. "Bottom feeders" as Bee put it. Trying to penalize people for being thrifty and not building up a balance -- that's as low as one can get.

March 24, 2009 at 8:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lets see if I got this straight:

After 40 years we are still arguing about banks complaining about dead beat users while unable to explain why they keep giving them more credit? (as I told BofA the other day on a card I haven't used for two years, and they said "that's our marketing department whom we have no control over" Yeah I said, but we both know I'll get that credit)

That we finally find out that in spite of what they've been saying all these years - they really do DESPISE those who pay off their balances every month and love us that don't!

Yet in padding congressional pockets on that new Bankruptcy bill of a few years ago, they said it was because the late payers that are killing them? (BTW that bill only applied to consumer not corporate bankruptcies).

In Spite of what S.W. Anderson said about their confusing written down policies - the truth is their rules are so legally lose, they can do a lot of things and not have to tell us about them.

As a Security Person most of their security is concentrated in protecting their own networks from hacking and very little to do with clients (like you, me and the merchants).

We have not progressed


P.S. Visit the consumer reports website that are signing petitions to get these credit rules changed NOW, not next year giving them less time to line their pockets!

March 29, 2009 at 3:51 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Erik: I don't think there's any logical answer to the banks' approach. They keep offering credit cards to everybody and his brother, and then they're appalled that so many people default on their loans.

And of course it's AOK for banks and other large companies to go bankrupt and get huge handouts from the public -- just don't let any individual try it.

And yes, the laws "regulating" banks are loose -- the banking industry pretty much wrote these laws themselves.

March 29, 2009 at 8:20 PM  

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