'Thank you for calling Citibank, this is Paul, how may I help you?'
'Hello, Paul. I received a letter about my interest rate on my credit card over the weekend.'
'OK. Who am I speaking to?'
I am really pissed off.
'All right Ms. Off. What can I help you with?'
'If I'm understanding this correctly, Citibank is increasing the interest rate on my credit card to 30% (actually 29.99%). Is that right?'
'Let me look at that. . . Yes, I can confirm you were sent a letter stating your interest rate will changed after November 30th.'
'Is there a reason why my account is being treated that way?'
'It is a business decision, Ma'am. It was not based on your account history.'
'I'm really unhappy about this. This comes at a really inconvenient time (thinking: my husband's off to visit his daughter several hundred miles away, holidays are coming, followed by great clearance sales) What are my options?
Paul's explainations include the suggestion that I can refuse to have my interest rate jacked up (staying at the already jacked up rate that I got just after the government bailout and just before Citibank stupidly and publicly declaring they were operating in the black, isn't that great! NOTE: That was me being very sarcastic.) by keeping the account as it stands just until the card expires, then paying off the account at that same interest rate.
'That will be fine with me. Please send me confirmation of this.'
'Yes, we will. Is there anything else?'
'Is there a spot where you can collect comments about our conversation, Paul?'
'What would that be, Ma'am?'
'I want Citibank to know that I am extremely upset that after government bailed them out using my taxes, I think it really stinks that Citibank increased my interest rate once (this was just back in February, maybe January, to 19.99%), went all over the press saying how they had operated in the black the last quarter, and then suggested it was a good business decision to do it again. After all of the bad press, that seems pretty stupid and uncaring about the economic situation right now.'
'Yes, I can make a note of it. . . .'
'I'm not saying that I blame you personally, Paul, as you are probably just a minimum wage paid employee in a cubicle in a phone center. I have issues with those in charge of Citibank. I am complaining to them.'
'I understand. I thank you for your comments. Is there anything else I can help you with.'
'Paul, I think you have done all you can for me. I appreciate your help. I hope you have a nice Monday, in spite of it all right now.'
'Thank you, Ms. Off. Thank you for calling Citibank. Have a good day.'
I really don't think there is anybody else going to hear my comments, so I'm sending the message in the bottle out into the sea of economic insanity.
Just to make sure you, my reader, understands this post. Credit card companies have pretty much no known laws, they dictate terms on their own terms. They can do this because they are based in Deleware, which has virtually no credit or lending laws to abide by.
The tragedy here that most people, I'm guessing the statistic is very high, like maybe better than 90%, never read this letter when they get it, and of those that did, most did nothing. The only way I know of to deal with a situation you don't appreciate is COMMUNICATION. With the credit card companies, the only way an individual can effectively be unhappy with the decision made against you personally is to contact them, speak clearly and say "I am unhappy with the situation of my account". LISTEN to the options you can take. If none of them are satisfactory, ask to speak with the supervisor. If there are no more options available, you do still have options. You can look into the various credit options like couseling, settlement, relief and, my favorite, Legal. My point is you do have choices, my hope is that you don't choose to do nothing.
I hope you have a pleasant day also.
11/4/09 ETA: This bank must think I'm stupid or that my momma dropped me on my head when I was a baby, because over this last weekend, I received a 'nice' letter from them saying they were sorry to see me go as a customer ('Oh, really? I dare ya to prove it!') and if I should decide to stay with my account at the new interest rate, please don't hesitate to call them. I find that downright insulting, actually. I'm thinking of calling them again. I think I'm only waiting for another, kinder, gentler bank, to offer me something I can transfer the balance to, that will let me keep my head above water.
Also: On the news tonight, NBC reported that many banks are pulling this S*&% right now because they have a government set deadline to KNOCK IT OFF in February. Whatever. One lady had her interest raised rate one more time than I had, but she had made a late payment, which I HAVE NOT DONE, and her interest rate will be the same as the one they wanted to give me. I'm struggling NOT to think about how unfair THAT is right at this moment.