Mild rant about credit card commercial

Pipersville_CarolFebruary 17, 2007

This morning I saw an irritating Amex TV commercial...

A couple wanted to purchase an engagement ring, and the man's Visa card was turned down because it was over the limit. Cue voiceover of man saying: "Then my fiance suggested I get an American Express card", because it has no preset limit. Apparently this was supposed to be a fantastic suggestion, a solution to their embarrassing problem, and they lived happily ever after.

Agh!! The answer to too much debt is more, unlimited debt??

I know, I know, it's just a commercial, it's not real.

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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

yeah...pretty sick commercial.

Do you suppose the credit cards companies charge the merchants as much as they do, to cover the many bad credit card accounts that go into bankruptcy?

Don't you think we are all actually paying for the actions of the credit card companies, and all those who abuse credit?

Sue

    Bookmark   February 18, 2007 at 12:09AM
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joyfulguy

chemocurl/Sue,

Advertising costs money.

They do a lot of polling to probe our minds in order to target it more effectivey - plus expensive focus groups, etc.

I was asked several years ago by a local advertising agency and our newspaper to participate in a focus group. While there, I mentioned in the hearing of the people in the group, that I'd spent over a couple of thousand dollars to advertise my business with the newspaper over a period, in consultation with their staff re content, etc., some time earlier - and had had no response that I could in any way identify as resulting from it.

I was never invited to such a group again. Maybe wouldn't have been, anyway.

Don't kid yourself - advertisers spend a great deal of money doing it ... and on targetting it effectively.

Thanks for bringing this situation to our attention.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   February 19, 2007 at 3:16PM
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hrajotte

If he'd paid more than the minimum on his Visa bill, maybe he wouldn't be over the limit. I've never had a problem with my (no-fee) Visa, Mastercard or Discover (my favorite card, with $540 cash back in the past 2 years, plus I paid zero interest) because I live within my means. (Or, heaven forbid, he could have bought a cheaper ring!)
These advertisements open doors for the reckless, but keep the responsible people in check. Since you were irritated by the ad (as I would be) it shows you are of the responsible persuasion. Congratulations!

    Bookmark   February 20, 2007 at 10:42AM
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sewserious

What they didn't tell about the AMEX card is that there is no preset limit, but the BALANCE HAS TO BE PAID OFF MONTHLY. It is NOT a revolving credit card.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2007 at 11:10AM
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harriethomeowner

I've never wanted to have an AmEx card since the experience my mother had after my father died. My parents never carried a balance on any credit cards and had excellent credit records. They had gotten the AmEx card for traveling in the days before Visa and MC were accepted everywhere. She asked to have their AmEx card put in her name, and they refused unless she sent them a copy of my father's death certificate. She canceled the card instead.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2007 at 12:49PM
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western_pa_luann

"What they didn't tell about the AMEX card is that there is no preset limit, but the BALANCE HAS TO BE PAID OFF MONTHLY. It is NOT a revolving credit card."

DH just got an AmEx that is revolving credit. He does not have to pay it off monthly (although we always do on any of our cards...). APR = 17.24%

    Bookmark   February 20, 2007 at 1:03PM
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joyfulguy

Homeowner Harriet,

I can understand and sympathize with your mother's displeasure.

One can perhaps understand that AmEx may have had trouble with some wives having asked to have their card ownership changed in earlier times - while a husband was alive, but making a similar claim.

And later suffered the wrath of an irate husband stuck with some large bills.

More than once, quite possibly.

As Dad used to say, "Once bitten - twice shy".

And - they probably wouldn't have wanted to tell too much about that scam when replying to your mother ... for she might tell some friends ... and it might sow some seed on fertile ground that was, until then, unseeded.

No sense in teaching folks how to scam you, now, is there?

ole joyful

    Bookmark   February 20, 2007 at 1:40PM
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devorah

My plan for funding social security is to put a nickel tax on credit card solicitations.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2007 at 2:38PM
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dreamgarden

harriethomeowner-
The similar thing happened to my MIL. My FIL developed Alzheimer's and had to go into an assisted living facility. He insisted on taking his wallet with him. It ended up missing (stolen?). When my MIL tried to cancel the card they said he had to do it. She tried to explain why he wasn't able to. They still wouldn't cancel the card or allow her to even though the card was missing. It took the director of the assisted living facility and a power of attorney to take care of it.

We will never have an AMEX card because of this.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2007 at 2:58PM
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sharon_sd

I think Amex behaved correctly and legally in both the above situations. They have a responsibility to the original holder of the card to not just reassign it or cancel it because someone who is not the card holder says to. Requesting legal proof that you are entitled to speak for the named card holder is a perfectly reasonable request.

I wouldn't want a card that let anyone other than me:
- get information about the status of the card, balances, limits etc.
- cancel it
- reassign it to another name
- redirect it to another adress

All those things relate to identity theft. The fact that Amex has safeguards against this would make me feel better about having their card.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2007 at 8:32AM
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parrot_phan

Funny about that commercial.

In late 2005, I told my finance that I wouldn't marry him as long as he had credit card debt. It was an "issue" for me because my former husband ran up all sorts of cc debt without telling me (they were cards in his name only, thank goodness).

This wonderful man showed he was serious -- he paid off his credit card in January of 2006. We got married in April, financed both our wedding and honeymoon with our own cash and some unsolicited help from friends. We are building our savings and have two only debts: his student loan and my mortgage.

I would have dumped him if he opened up a new card to buy me an engagement ring.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2007 at 11:19AM
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housenewbie

Of course, I find myself wondering who the heck plops down $9k for a ring all at once?? You put a down payment on it and then pay the rest later once it's sized etc. So this situation would be pretty unlikely anyway.

Of course, commercials usually are pretty irrational. I'm not the demographic they're looking for, anyway. I often find myself repulsed by food commercials.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2007 at 12:40PM
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harriethomeowner

sharon sd: I believe my mother was a joint owner of the account, so in that case, shouldn't she be entitled to have it put in her name? I don't know the details. I just remember that she was insulted and decided she didn't need the card anymore.

Anyway, that was back in the time when a lot of women didn't have credit in their own name because they often didn't have income. Nowadays, everyone and their dog and cat receive daily credit offers.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2007 at 1:12PM
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eandhl

To the OP, the sad thing is it isn't just a commercial. It is reality. I am not employed and get tons of pre approved cards weekly. I am smart enough to shred them but I am sure a lot people buy into "if you can afford the minimum then you can afford it".

    Bookmark   February 21, 2007 at 7:09PM
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PRO
acdesignsky

When I saw that commercial, my first assumption was that the guy paid off his balance every month. After all, who would want to carry around several thousand dollars of cash around, even if just to the jewelry store and most banks have a daily limit on their debit cards . When we make major purchases (furniture, appliances, car repairs), we use the credit card, earn the points or miles, and then pay it off that month.
Amex has always tried to appeal to a higher income bracket, not people who pay the minimum, IMO.
What drives me crazy are the commercials where the couple is getting married. Between airline tickets and the ring, they've already spent nearly 20k. Can you imagine the wedding bills?

    Bookmark   February 22, 2007 at 2:46PM
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joyfulguy

angc,

You meant, " ... wedding BELLS." ... didn't you??(;^))

The BILLS turn up ... after the honeymoon ... don't they?

About the time when the happy couple ... is coming down to earth.

Sometimes with a pronounced "Thud"!

o j

    Bookmark   February 22, 2007 at 3:51PM
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vivian31

No credit card company forces anyone to live beyond their means. That's strictly a choice some people make.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2007 at 7:00AM
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housenewbie

No credit card company forces anyone to live beyond their means. That's strictly a choice some people make.

No, but they do try their best to fool people into thinking they can afford stuff they can't. And to fool them into thinking that spending thousands of dollars you don't have is normal, harmless behavior.

Americans are largely poorly educated about money, and highly susceptible to manipulation. In addition, the children sitting in front of that TV grow up thinking that ads depict the way people live, or should live. (Ever noticed how many people seem to drive like they do in the commercials--weaving in and out of traffic, crossing double lines to pass on a blind curve? Coincidence?)

    Bookmark   February 27, 2007 at 1:01PM
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western_pa_luann

"No credit card company forces anyone to live beyond their means. That's strictly a choice some people make."

Amen!

I dislike it whenever anyone speaks of the 'evil' (or whatever derogatory term....) credit card companies. People need to step up and take responsibility for their actions and quit blaming CC companies.
JHMO!

    Bookmark   February 27, 2007 at 2:15PM
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joyfulguy

The credit card companies are smart business people.

A local guy who wrote a book, "Financial Freedom Witout Sacrifice", says that we should teach a great deal more about common sense money management in schools ... but we don't.

Have you ever heard the slogan on TV, " ... You deserve it!"?

TV teaches us that our wirth is bound up in the stuff that we have. And they are totally nconcerned, now with the stuff that we bought last week - that's ancient history! The thing to do is *buy* - *now*!

Remember - that was the first thing that Mr. Byush said, after 9 - 11.

In fact, some say that there are some common characteristics between the management of TV programming relative to the commercials and hypnotism. The progams sure like to leave the suggestion in your mind that you need the product that they're shilling.

How would you like to earn nearly 40% on your money? Guaranteed!

If you have one of most store-issued "credit" cards ... the rate of interest that they charge is about 25 - 28%, on an annual basis.

Most of the stuff that most of us buy on the card is not deductible. So we must pay for stuff bought in those stores with after-tax money. Divide 28% by 3, you get 9, then add the 9 to 28%, gives 37%.

If you're in 25% marginal tax rate, 1/4 of your earnings goes to tax, so you divide 37% by 4, get about 9% going to tax, leaving 28% after-tax residue in hand to pay off he debt.

If you always paid your credit card balance off in full each month before the due date, no interest fee. If you charge so much stuff on it that you can't pay it off before the due date, you must start paying those high intrerest rates.

Hey, lookie ... you just gave yourself a guaranteed reduction in income, next year (unless you get a substantial raise)!

Would you give even a second's thought to asking your boss to reduce the amount that the company pays you easch payday?

But that's precisely the kind of boot in the tail that you just arranged for yourself.

Trouble is - you probably didn't even notice it!!

If you don't boss yur money (and learn how) ... it'll boss you!!

Have yourself a great week.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   February 27, 2007 at 7:03PM
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vivian31

"No, but they do try their best to fool people into thinking they can afford stuff they can't. And to fool them into thinking that spending thousands of dollars you don't have is normal, harmless behavior."

CC companies aren't in business to educate--only to make money. No one forces your hand to take that plastic card our of your purse or wallet or forces you to sign on the dotted line.

Time to be smarter than the TV.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2007 at 4:53AM
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talley_sue_nyc

Have you ever heard the slogan on TV, " ... You deserve it!"?

My BIL used to say that--he had a cr*p job, mainly because he wanted to be an "artist," and he'd see nice or nice-ish apartments from the street and say, "don't I deserve that?"

I finally started telling him, No, actually, you don't. In fact, the people currently living in that apartment don't deserve it, either. And they're not entitled to it. They just earned enough money to be able to afford it.

Nobody deserves anything but a basic roof over their head. And even that, nobody gives you just because you deserve it.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2007 at 2:32PM
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Pipersville_Carol

LOL: "Time to be smarter than the TV". I like that.

If only people could!

    Bookmark   March 6, 2007 at 11:10PM
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parrot_phan

The folks I know who are smarter than the TV have turned the tube OFF.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2007 at 2:00PM
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