2013-07-25 / View From the Middle

View From The Middle

Let’s Write Our Own Letter To The Credit Card Companies
Charles Rogers

The following is a reprint from our August 27, 2009 issue:

I think I’ve got it! I’ve been trying to think of a way we can get back at the credit card companies that have been raising our rates and fees all over the place lately.

You know what I’m talking about. It’s the letter that starts out by saying the credit card people have been suffering horribly and so they’ve got to be “responsive to the economic environment.” (I love that line!) As if everybody isn’t suffering because of the very same economic environment and they want us to feel sorry for them.

So you know what they’re doing? As expected, they’re raising the rates and fees being paid by consumers. Right out of the blue! “Hey, people,” they’re saying. “We’re not doin’ so good so we’re takin’ it out on you!”

We’ve all gotten the letter. It’s the one that our president and legislative ring-kissers allowed the credit card companies to send out, giving them plenty of time to recoup any losses that they could incur as a result of the legislation itself.

What they did at that time was told the public that those nasty old credit card people have been ripping us off and charging too much all along and the consumer is really getting hurt. “So we’re putting a stop to that and, as soon as the legislation is signed, you’ll all get some relief and the credit carder won’t be allowed to freely impose late fees or new interest fees without due notice and some restrictions,” said Mr. President (paraphrased).

I think there is a way we can, at least tacitly, get them back:

We’ll write them our own letter! Whereas a letter from one of the credit card companies (I’ve gotten several), besides crying on my shoulder, says:

Important Price Change Notification Dear Consumer,

Like all companies large and small, our pricing has to be responsive to the business and economic environment. We have found it necessary to increase rates and fees on some of our products (their words, not mine). The principle changes include:

We are raising your Annual Percentage Rate (APR) on purchases and cash advances;

We are raising the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) on any balances that have a penalty rate because of late payment;

We are raising the late fee. Please remember that you can avoid late fees by paying on time.

They did wind up the letter by saying, “Thank you for being a Cardmember.” How nice! They even capitalized the word “Cardmember.”

Now, how about OUR ultimatum?

Important Notification For Credit Card

Executives and Officials Dear Credit Card People,

Like all families large and small, we have to be responsive to the business and economic environment. The environment isn’t really too good around here right now and we have found it necessary to decrease rates and fees that you feel are coming to you because of your impending deadline:

We are decreasing our Annual Percentage Rate (APR) on purchases and cash advances. We find that increasing, or keeping it at its present rate, will definitely be an overload as far as paying you back. Frankly, it’s much faster, easier and less messy to pay with cash.

We are lowering our APR (we think you might be intelligent enough for us to not have to repeat what “APR” stands for) on any balances that have a penalty because of late payment. If we’re late, we’re late. Don’t worry — you’ll get your #@$%^&* money!

We’re decreasing our late fee, if not disposing of it altogether. Like we said, your #@$%^&* money will be coming. If we’re dragging our feet a little bit, it’s because we have to see that the other credit card companies get their #@$%^&* money too!

As a matter of compassion, we feel you should be grateful that we allow you to service us as cardmembers (NOT capitalized. We don’t want to appear pretentious).

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