I was all excited last year when my dear friend, Mr. Obama, said he was going to force the credit card companies to clean up their acts and start treating us, the consumers, as human beings instead of money bags they could squeeze till we were empty inside. Remember how cool that was of him?
I’ve been trying for years to tell them that it’s not fair to charge me 29% interest when I missed one payment because their statement never arrived in the mail. They were never too concerned about what I think. Usually, though, after a lot of appealing to their greater sense of “what if someone tried to do this to your child?” they’d reverse the charge and I’d go on making my payments without needing to sell a kidney.
About three years ago I decided I didn’t want to carry credit card debt anymore. No real reason, it’s just kind of a waste of money. So my husband and I’ve been working hard to pay down our debt and close credit card accounts that we don’t want to use.
So the deadline comes for Obama’s credit card changes and the card companies are making all this effort to tell me how great they are at complying, now that they have to, and how they’re going to make it so easy for me to avoid being screwed over by them. Well that’s all spiffy-nifty and how-do-ya-do but then I start hearing rumors of some shifty business going on behind the scenes.
It seems they spent the time between Obama’s announcement that they’d have to change and the enforcement of the new rules to search high and low for the loopholes in his proclamations. And who knows, maybe he didn’t make them that hard to find. For all his efforts to change things he’s awfully good friends with the inside of bankers’ pockets, if ya know what I’m saying… and I think you do, because I can tell you’re nodding. You should probably stop doing that. People are staring.
First I hear that if you have a credit card but you don’t use it they can charge you for not using it. Huh? Does that seem right? To me that sounds like a ploy to keep people buying on credit even though we’ve all woken up and realized that’s not really a good idea.
Then I’m reminded of something I already knew: It’s not good for your credit to close too many credit card accounts too quickly. So… you can’t just have credit at your disposal and not use it (not for free anyway) and you can’t get rid of that credit without being penalized right in the credit rating.
So what’s a cute little consumer like me to do? Well, I know what they’re telling me to do with this message: “Keep on spending! Only you can stop the credit crunch by buying more stuff!” (They should create their own Smokey the Bear type mascot, maybe Chargey the Buffalo.)
But here’s what I want to do: tell Mr. Obama to shore up the leaks in his credit card rehabilitation plan. If they can’t play nice he should sit them on time out and make them think about what they’ve done until they can get along with others. And by ‘others’ I mean us, the people broadly referred to as “Main Street”. And by ‘sit on time out and think about what they’ve done’ I mean they should have to pay us back all the money they’ve gotten by being usurious, which is a big word meaning ‘jerks’.
So, consider yourself told, Mr. Obama. Wait, everyone in the world reads my blog, right? So I don’t have to do anything else other than write this here and post it?
If there are other credit card bullying tactics I haven’t listed here (and I only listed 2 so you and I both know there are a boatload more) then please post a comment listing your favorites.
That’ll show ’em. All right, we may also have to bake them cookies with razor blades embedded in them, but those two things together: telling them we won’t stand for them being jerks and serving them razor blade cookies will definitely make them realize that what they are doing is wrong and make them stop. They wouldn’t want their own sweet little children to be treated like squeezable money bags, right? Wait, I don’t want my kids to be given razor blade cookies… I’m confused. Can’t we all just get along?