Credit Card Industry Informative - What You Can Do to Stop the Abusive Practices of Credit Card Companies
The following information is for informational and informative purposes. I found the information at www.bcsalliance.com/creditcards_complain and decided to post it here for others to read.
What You Can Do to Stop the Abusive Practices of Credit Card Companies
If you're tired of paying usurious interest rates and paying bogus late fees to your credit card bank, you're going to have to take action if you want things to change.
The banking industry, made up mostly of credit card companies, contributes all they can to congressional campaigns and has a huge lobby in Washington, D.C. They spend millions each year to effectively bribe Congress not to pass consumer friendly legislation. And their tactics have worked. Congress rarely passes any consumer friendly legislation, but makes it extremely easy for the banking industry to lie, cheat, steal and rob the public in just about any way they can. If you don't believe that is true, then why is it illegal for you to charge your brother-in-law a high interest rate on the $1,000 you loaned him (in fact, you can go to jail for being such a scumbag), but it is perfectly legal for your credit card company to charge you 28%?
Believe it or not, you are more powerful than the banking industry because you have the right to vote and they don't. If your elected representatives received dozens of emails, letters and phone calls from an unhappy constituency demanding that the credit card industry be controlled and regulated, don't you think they would pass legislation in a snap? Of course they would, especially if you made it very clear to them that you're going to vote them out of office is they don't. But the problem is that you're too busy or you don't think that complaining will make a difference. Congress knows this. The banking industry knows this. And if you don't do something about it, it's only going to get worse. Consumers are not complaining about this issue so the banking industry is winning and they're winning big. Currently, they can raise your interest rate dramatically for no reason; they can claim you didn't send in your payment when you know you did; and they can move your due date around to try and trick you into paying late (and many of them are doing that because they derive the vast majority of their profits collecting late fees).
If enough of you would take the time to contact your elected officials things would change. Not only should you contact them, but persuade at least 20 of your friends and family members to contact their elected officials, and tell your friends and relatives to persuade 20 more people to contact their representatives. If Congress was flooded with complaints they would do something to control and punish credit card companies who misbehave.
You can find the names, addresses, email addresses and phone numbers of your representatives by visiting these websites: www.senate.gov and www.house.gov. When you contact your representative you might want to do the following --
(1) Tell him or her what the credit card company has done to you (Example: They raised your interest rate from 8% to 28% even though you had never missed a payment or paid late) and what effect it has had on your life (Example: Raising my rate to 28% is going to force me into bankruptcy or I can no longer afford to buy necessities for my children). Ask your representative to support the credit card reform bill that was introduced in the Summer of 2004 by Senator Christopher Dodd of Connecticut. The bill Senator Dodd is trying to get passed is pro-consumer, but because the credit card industry is doing everything it can to stop him, he needs your help.
(3) Let them know that you aren't as ignorant and uninformed as they think you are. Tell them that you know the banking industry controls Congress and your very angry about this and want the industry to be regulated. Specifically, you might request that they pass legislation that does the following:
a. Requires a credit card company to disclose ALL terms and conditions on its agreement, including the fact that they will raise your interest rate significantly if they check your credit report and find out you paid another creditor late. If you had known this when you signed up for the card, you would have rejected it. Right now most credit card agreements simply state that they "have the right to change the terms of the agreement" and nothing more.
b. Requires that they disclose statistics to you when you sign up for the card, such as the percentage of their customers that had their interest rates significantly raised even though they had never paid late and never missed a payment. If you had known that they raise the interest rates on 60% of their customers, you wouldn't have signed up for the card.
c. Ban "universal default" provisions in credit card agreements that allow card issuers to raise your rate when you fail to pay another creditor. This would prevent a credit card issuer from raising your interest rate when you haven't missed a payment or paid late and prevents them from checking your credit report and raising your interest rate because your credit score has dropped.
d. Puts a cap on the amount they can charge when you do pay late.
e. Requires them to offer alternate repayment plans and reduced interest rates to those consumers who can prove that they have serious financial problems or who have become unemployed. Doing this would significantly reduce the number of personal bankruptcy filings each year.
(4) Ask your representatives to send you information about how they voted on banking-related issues in Congress. Ask him or her what her stance is on regulating the banking industry. Ask him how much he has received in contributions from credit card companies and the banking lobby. Ask him if he is married to, is friends with, or plays golf with banking executives or banking lobbyists. Ask if he or she plans to support the proposed credit card reform bill introduced by Senator Dodd.
(5) Complain to your representative that the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, or OCC, is not doing its job in regulating the credit card industry. Instead of penalizing or issuing regulations and guidelines to credit card companies, they are a sham organization that protects the credit card industry from legal actions taken by Attorney General offices in dozens of states. Read Providian and the OCC.
(6) Tell your representative that you will definitely be voting in the next election and you will be voting for the person who favors regulating the banking industry. Let your representative know that you will be following up on this matter and will find out how she or he voted and will vote for the opposition, if necessary.