"Poor Jane, what happened?" you might ask. Or, if you're less-than-charitable with your judgements, you might sneer, "That scumbag Janeshe never DID handle money well."
The truth is, Jane is a business owner, budgets well, keeps meticulous financial records, and has generated a decent living for over 15 years (immersed in an atmosphere in which 90% of all businesses fail within the first 2 years of start-up). The fact that Jane is also permanently disabled is probably immaterial, but serves only as comment on her character as a (nearly) self-sufficient and honorable woman of integrity even in difficult circumstances.
So, what the hell, Jane?
What the hell, indeed. Jane had it all precisely figured out on several elaborate spreadsheets. Revenue in, expenses out; what's left is Jane's "score." It looked good on paper; it worked well in real life. The name of the game was Cashflow: a two-way street with lots of activity and no drunk drivers . . .
until someone introduced the intoxicating element of the introductory offer. "Sign up with us and get 1.9% APR for 6 months . . . thereafter, terms are reasonable, as outlined in our Contract." "Transfer your balances and we'll give you free interest for a year! Thereafter, terms are reasonable, per our Standard Contract." Gee, an offer Jane can't refuse! How 'bout that?
Only problem is, once the initial terms are satisfied, and the "Standard Contract" takes over, all hell breaks loose. Terms can be changed, interest rates skyrocket, and credit parameters are altered to suit any whim of the creditors. The Contract means nothing. NOTHING. It's a free-for-all. Creditors do what they want, when they want, in any way they want. It's like driving 80 mph on the Interstate with no exit signs, a defective odometer, and a brake-fluid leak.
Well, Jane's got Road-Rage! She's pissed, and she wants everyone to know it! She could have survivedeven thrivedwith her several credit accounts, had the "contracts" associated with said accounts embodied even a particle of trustworthiness.
So, if you think you want credit, PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING. These policies and actions are widespread and apparently acceptable within the industry, though, Jane can't for the life of her understand WHY what follows is not blatantly illegal. It SHOULD be. These policies victimize and defraud consumers, compounding inflation and accelerating recession.
You read the fine printback and frontfind the terms acceptible, and finally, you sign the contract. You can now breathe a sigh of relief because you believe you know the rules of the game going in, and you signed a CONTRACT for goodness sakes, so nothing major is likely to change . . .
Nearly all credit
card issuers violated their initial agreements with me, by simply
mailing me notification(s) of the fact that "enclosed herein
is the new agreement, which revokes and supercedes any previous
and existing agreement you may have signed." If a contract
I sign can be capriciously rescinded at any timea policy
not revealed to the applicant at first signingthen there
is in effect NO CONTRACT.
Most of my fixed-rate
credit cards increased their interest rates significantly (sometimes
all-at-once, sometimes over several months' period), and one
jumped from 22% to 28%, even though I had made timely payments
double to triple the minimum amount due. This is my reward for
integrity and honor?
promised credit lines "up to" $1000.00. Some had excessive
annual fees; another included inflated fees for Express Delivery.
A rational consumer knows that the "up to" phrase does
not guarantee the top credit limit, but figures
the high fees may be worth it anyway if the credit limit is sufficient.
Upon receiving one of these credit cards three weeks
after requesting "Express" service, the credit line
was $200.00, from which the express delivery fee of $35.00 (ahem!FedEx
charges $9.95; what gives on the rate hike?) and an annual fee
of $69.00 would be immediately subtracted, leaving a meager credit
line of $96.00 remaining for the consumer's use . . . at 22.9%
interest, of course (applied to the fees as well).
upon my missing two payments as I began the bankruptcy process,
reduced my credit line to the point that not only were late fees
levied, but now over-the-limit fees could be added to the insult.
In one case, over $100 per month was added to my account, even
after the creditor was notified of the bankruptcy
process. And it can all be recorded on IRS bad-debt formsa
surreptitiously generated write-off that inflates the balancewhile
providing nothing of any value
to anyone but the creditors themselves. Oink,
The usual Late
Fee charge is $29; accounts vary. One credit card company threatened
to increase the annual percentage rate from 19.2% to 26.99%
should I make two late payments within a
six-month period, but increased their interest rates
to 29.66% once those two late payments occurred.
I double-checked the printyep, that's what happened all
That was thenthis is now. Contract changes may now cover your previous balance, as well as any new charges! Two credit card companies enclosed their change-in-terms notices with the monthly bill following the month in which the changes were scheduled to occur, thereby preventing any evasive action by the cardholderan unconscionably sleazy maneuver, if ever I have witnessed one.
It is inconceivable that I will apply for a credit card ever again. I'd sooner die of my illnessalone and abandoned in a cold dark cave, bats devouring my eyes and defecating on my rotting, bloated tongue.
previously outlined atrocities with great care. Are you sure
you want credit? Are you ABSOLUTELY sure?
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