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October 16, 2009

Thrill of the "Chase"

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by Ron Daly 

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Re-read the "Debtor's Revolt" story here.

I want to share an interesting chess game I have going with Chase over a 3.99% cash advance transaction from 2007. I figured I’d take them up on a balance transfer under an agreement that the rate will remain 3.99% for the balance of the transfer unless of course I default somehow. Here is what they're doing to try and get me to default.

  • They’ve raised the base rate to 21% on a card I’ve never used for anything else
  • Lowered the credit limit to just above the balance in hopes that I might exceed it
  • Changed the due dates twice. Fortunately, I always open bills before filing and write the due date on the outside (sorry, old accountant habits never die) 
  • Now they have increased the minimum monthly payment from $85 to $420 in one billing cycle (that’s 494% increase) 

Guess what, Chase? I’m one of the lucky ones that can still pay the ride and you can’t change the rate. I understand that the federal government had to bail Chase out and not let it fail because of the market meltdown. I think it’s time that Chase and some of the other banks and credit card companies gouging consumers start failing for the right reason. 

Fail because: 

  • Consumers, as the movie line goes, “are mad as hell and not going to take it any more” 
  • Consumers stop using them and shift towards credit unions that have decent rates and fair credit card practices (as mentioned by Suze Orman up top of this post) 
  • Credit union loan officers steal every single loan and credit card balance they see on credit reports away from Chase and help members 
  • The credit union industry seizes the opportunity to go on the offensive to drive policies with lawmakers that capture and hold market share 
I think that Barney Frank should not only move up the next phase of the CC Act, he should also consider making it retroactive to January 2009 and make all these credit card companies and banks refund the excess fees and loan shark interest rates back to the consumer. They are the ones getting away with it while consumers and credit unions pay the price. 

Gotta run, my email alert to pay Chase just came in from my credit union’s online banking system.

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