More bank shadiness

herusMarch 13, 2008

I received this in email today from the Consumer Reports people. A couple of email hotlinks were provided, not shown below:

----------------------

Consumer Reports®: A Publication of Consumers Union

Dear (my name was here, so I know it's not spam),

Bank of America recently announced interest rate increases, even for

responsible card customersÂsome people reported new rates as high as

28%! And the bank didn't make it easy to object.

To decline the rate hike, the bank required card holders to write a

letter agreeing to stop using the card and pay off the existing

balance at the old rate, according to news reports. They couldn't

telephone, nor did Bank of America provide a form or a return

envelope to help meet the short deadline. If the company didn't get a

quick response, rates would automatically rise.

Bank of America is not the only bank to hit card holders with high

rates and fees. Banks get to raise your interest rates, as well as

the fees they charge for most services, because fine print clauses in

your credit card contracts allow it. They don't even have to tell you

why they did it.

Tell Congress to protect card holders from unfair rate hikes,

exorbitant penalty fees and other fine print "gotchas."

As the economy softens, some Wall Street analysts believe that big

banks want to make up their investment losses by raising rates to

good credit card customers.

A bill proposed in Congress would help rein in that practice and

limit other "gotchas." The bill would protect cardholders against

arbitrary interest rate increases; hidden interest charges, due date

traps and more.

This bill is long past due! Tell your lawmakers that you support the

Cardholders' Bill of Rights.

And please, take one more moment to forward this message to people

you know who use credit cards so they can join you in action for

reform, too!

Sincerely,

Jim Guest

President

Consumers Union of the U.S.

101 Truman Avenue

Yonkers, NY 10703-1057

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western_pa_luann

Just another reason NOT to do business with BofA!

    Bookmark   March 13, 2008 at 2:58PM
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lucy

Have you checked to see if in fact any of it is legit? There are a lot of nuts out there trying to get your attention (without letting on what their agenda really is yet) and until I was sure about the mailing, I wouldn't necessarily treat it as gospel.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2008 at 5:28PM
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joyfulguy

Hello herus,

Are you new around here? If so, greetings, welcome to the forum - and thanks for the info.

The fact that my name was on it wouldn't convince me that it was legit.

When someone solicits me to use their product over and over ...

... and over and over some more ...

... that tells me that there's advantage in it.

For them.

Taking on a "credit" card (really an opportunity to set up a "debt" contract) is accepting a contract.

Would you sign a contract with a house builder to build a house for you if the contract were hidden - you had an opportunity only to do one thing - sign your name???

Credit card companies don't show the contract until you've committed to that contract.

Including accepting all of the clauses involved in it.

Some of which provide net benefit to you, right?

Tell me - do you know any other funny stories??
_____________________________

Did you check it with CR? Directly to their website, of course - not through any "provided links" in the message that you received.

They get really uptight about people using their claims.

If it should be spurious, they may ask you to send the message to them ... with "Full headers".

The usual credit card issuers usually charge about 15 - 18% annual rate on unpaid balances.

Up intil now, most store-issued cards were charging up around 25 - 28%.

Banks like to figure that they're the pre-eminent folks in the money business (well, possibly apart from insurance companies).

Why should they let some other entity run rings around them when it comes to profiteering?

[end of rant]

Good wishes for increasingly skilled use of your income and assets.

Learning how money works is an interesting hobby - **that pays well**!!

ole joyful

P.S. A Canadian bank in which I've held shares for over 40 years recently had a drop in share price of 40% due to their being involved in this lousy U.S. sub-prime mortgage fiasco.

I've heard that BA is heavily committed there, as well.

o j

    Bookmark   March 13, 2008 at 11:29PM
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tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM

I have recently seen articles in well known publications regarding Bank of America doing this. Apparently, it is an easy way for them to raise cash revenue during these perilous times for banks. I think that the real moral of the story is that if you have a credit account with B of A, pay attention to any account updates that come in the mail to insure that you can opt out and send your letter certified mail so that they cannot deny they have received it.

I have a B of A account with a ridiculously high balance and they have not jacked up my rate yet but I will be paying close attention. I have mixed feelings on any legislation that would be passed. On the one hand, I do see how the banks are certainly getting greedy in their efforts to increase profits but on the other hand, if I had wiser decisions all around with my finances, I would have no risk of being in the line of fire as well. Nobody forced me to take a line of credit, I did it of my own free will and thus must suffer the consequences.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2008 at 11:51PM
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joyfulguy

I don't like playing cards for money when I hold only 2s - 7s.

I don't play cards for money in any event. And certainly don't roll dice - no skill at all involved in that!

ole joyful

    Bookmark   March 14, 2008 at 12:41AM
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tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM

I have to say, B of A and pretty much any credit card and their ability to raise interest rates illustrates Dave Ramsey's point that if you play with snakes, one day you will be bit.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2008 at 12:50AM
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dadoes

Pay the balance in-full every statement and interest rates are of no consequence.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2008 at 3:39AM
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herus

Usually, I am quite sceptical of emails that ask me to do things. This time, I obviously let my guard down. I checked the CR site (albeit briefly, but using Search) and could not find reference to this letter. This was today, not before posting the above.

I wish I could take it back, and apologize to everyone affected by my foolish and hasty post. I am often the one who points out hoax-type emails to others (like the famous Ashley Flores one) and got taken myself this time. The numerous exclamation marks should have given it away, but I guess seeing my name up there (usually, the sign of a legit correspondence but now obviously not) allayed my usual suspicions.

I am a subscriber to CR online. I am also a BoA (mortgage and CC) customer, although I have never paid interest on a credit card - ever. Pay off monthly, only buy what you can easily afford has always been my motto. We am in fact pondering whether to pay off our year-old mortgage by next year.

To say I am embarrassed is an understatement. Thanks for the wake-up call.
----------------------

ALl that said, the banks DO mess around too much IMO with these things and wield their law-given power in unjust ways. For this, we have our corrupt politicians to thank, who get fat off lobbyists who in turn are on the payroll of the same banks, insurance, oil tobacco, et al companies.

Unfortunately the system in this country (and likely others) simply does not provide fairness and equity to the common man. As someone alluded to in another thread here, this is what happens when a society fixates on money above all else; money becomes the currency (pun intended) of life itself.

We are losing productive and paying jobs overseas to boost the already ridiculous compensation of industry leaders, the national coffers are hemorrhaging and have been for some time, we live in paranoia and fear instilled by our leaders, we hate foreigners simply because they are foreign, we are mired in a war that can have no positive outcome and is not (yet) treated as the horror it is only because it has been spun and information-controlled.

I fear for this country, which I adopted (and it adopted me) over a quarter-century ago.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2008 at 9:55AM
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liz_h

Anyone who carries a CR card balance needs to pay attention to their rate. If you have time to read the fine print of the credit card offers that come in the mail, you may find one that has far better terms than your present card. Most of them will do a free balance transfer if you opt to open the new card.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2008 at 1:02PM
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