Senators Don’t Think Americans Should Behave Responsibly

Senate Panel Slams Abusive Credit Card Practices

Credit cards can be used to the consumer’s benefit. Credit cards can be abused to the consumer’s downfall. They can be used in a great many ways in between. The fact that the majority of Americans use them poorly says a lot more about our education system and lack of parenting in this country than it does about the credit card companies. They are in business to make money. If people cannot be bothered to read before entering an agreement that can seriously impact the financial health of their family, they are the ones who need fixing.

Here is an excerpt from the article about one of the people who testified at the hearing:

Wesley Wannemacher, a Lima, Ohio resident who testified at the hearing, was one of those consumers.

Wannemacher described how he had maxed out his $3,000 Chase Bank card to pay for his wedding, and found himself falling further and further behind in payments as he had more expenses to take care of. Despite pleas to Chase to work with him, the bank continued to pile on late fees and penalty fees.

“Debt seems to invoke a feeling of hopelessness unlike any other problem I’ve encountered,” Wannemacher said. “When a debtor calls you on the phone and you make a minimum payment, you know that you’ve made no real progress and that in a month, they will be calling again.”

Eventually Wannemacher ended up owing $7,500 in interest fees, late payment fees, and overlimit fees on an original debt of $3,200.

Even after making payments totaling $6,300, he still owed $4,400 in fees. Wannamacher had contacted Levin’s office, who invited him to testify. Right before he did so, Chase agreed to forgive the balance on his account.

WTF, seriously? This guy decided to put on a wedding more lavish than he could afford. He did it. He got the goods. He overcharged the amount of credit that he had. Guess what, that is against the terms, and they assess fees for that. It says it in every terms of service pamphlet I have gotten from a credit card company. Also, there is this thing called interest. The credit card companies charge interest when you borrow money from them. They charge interest on the interest you owe them if you don’t pay it off right away. They charge interest on the late fees if you don’t pay those off right away. Also, if you start screwing up your account, they raise your interest rate. Those pretty rates are ones that they offer to financially responsible people.

Don’t get me wrong, I know the credit card companies prey upon the weakness and stupidity and fucked up sense of entitlement of the masses. They advertise and advertise and try to lure people in and it gives people the false sense that they should spend money they probably shouldn’t spend. I am not a fan of the credit card companies for a pile of reasons, from their marketing practices (quit offering pre-approved cards to my dog, thank you very much), to their constant mailings because of the changes in the terms of service that happen every 5 days, to their complete lack of decent customer service. Those are just more reasons to read the application carefully. Then if you choose to apply, read all the damn paperwork they send you. If you don’t agree cut up the card and close the damn account. If a chance is made to the terms of service after you already carry a balance with them, you can quit using the card and notify them in writing that you do not agree and you pay off the debt according to your old terms.

The credit card companies are not getting people into this situation. The people are getting themselves into it. It isn’t really their fault though, at least that is what my government is telling me. I guess a government that can’t balance the fucking budget would have to believe that. I wonder how much this hearing cost our nation?

In response to a friend Re: Credit Card Companies
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