Reining In Credit Card Abuses
Finally. It isn’t a done deal yet, but the House has passed a bill to protect consumers against being suckerpunched by their credit card carriers. The House vote was 357-70. The bill is expected to be passed by the Senate and signed by Obama.
Sudden and/or retroactive interest rate hikes, double-cycle billing, issuing credit cards to anyone under 18 — say goodbye. This law won’t take effect until next year, except for the provision requiring 45 days notice before increasing interest rates. That will be effective in 90 days.
The bill has bipartisan support, but some Republicans trotted out their tired cliché that this bill would take away choices and credit opportunities for consumers. [yawn]
I agree with the other main conservative argument against laws like this: that it’s up to everybody to read something before they sign it. No argument there. But that doesn’t mean these underhanded fees and penalties hidden in the fine print — known as “Gotcha Capitalism” — should be legal.
It’s up to everybody to defend themselves against being attacked on the street, but that doesn’t mean robbery and assault should be legal.
Now, about that conservative mantra of “Read the fine print, Stupid!” — check out this other story and see how they react. The Washington legislature has passed a law — it hasn’t been signed by the governor yet — that’s designed to keep state parks open.
When Washington motorists pay their annual vehicle license fee, they have the option (“Opting In”) of paying an extra $5, which goes toward maintaining the state’s parks. This new law changes “Opt In” to “Opt Out.” Until now, motorists would pay this extra $5 only if they put a checkmark in the Yes box. Now, they’ll be paying that extra $5 automatically UNLESS they check the No box.
Lawmakers are expecting this “adjustment” to raise an extra $20 million to keep state parks off the chopping block. Personally I don’t think it’ll raise anywhere near that amount, just because the public is getting more skeptical and more wary about everything.
But for some odd reason, those same “Why didn’t you read the contract first, you Idiot?!?!?!?” Republicans are just appalled — sick with worry — that a few harried vehicle owners might be unwittingly donating $5 towards keeping state parks open.
cross-posted at Bring It On!