Friday, July 25, 2008

#@%^&$& Credit Cards!

I've been paying off my credit cards in full for the last three months, maintaining a zero balance. This month I finished paying off my "Line of Credit" for business checking, which is the last of the debt.

I got my B of A card statement today. There in fine print is: "Please note: Your due date has changed...."

Sure enough, and strangely enough, I owe 5 days earlier. Gosh, I wonder why the date didn't change to 5 days later?

And...there was no envelope for the bill to send back.

Nice. Do I use a blank envelope and lose it in the works? Do I make a trip down to the bank and pay in person? Do I sign up for their online presence and give them all the info?

I don't want to do any of these things. Nor should I have to.

So....if I was of a suspicious nature, I'd think they were trying to screw me.

I'm sure it was all innocent.

@%#$@$%@ Credit Cards!

(Edited: Actually they moved the date up 8 days. At least they included a notice, in nice small fine print.....)

To continue the saga. I call them. They say the bill was sent on the 18th, which means it took 7 days to get here. Almost nowhere does it take seven days, five days is the norm.

Let that pass. So I ask, "If I send to the payment address, will it get there?"

"Oh, no. You need a special code and address."

But you see, I knew that because it happened to me several years ago.

So, assuming a 7 days mailing time to be safe: I have 4 days to pay the bill upon arrival.

4 days.

Which if I had done the logical thing and addressed my envelope to: "Mail payments to;
Bank of America, P.O. Box xxxx, Baltimore, Md 21297-1220," It ALMOST CERTAINLY wouldn't have gotten there!

Yes, sir. Good thing I don't have suspicious nature.

I'm sure there was no intention of trapping the unwary.

That would be cheap trick.

Surely Bank of America wouldn't resort to cheap tricks?

Hey, Congress! WAKE THE FUCK UP!


RDC said...

Call them and tell them that because the the date change you are terminating the account. That is what I would do anytime a company tries to do something like this.

Instead you grumble and complain, but continue to do business with them. Wake up, stop playing their game.

Duncan McGeary said...

I'm afraid it would subvert my credit rating to remove 21k from my lines of credit. Plus, it's the card I've been using at several of my wholesalers so that would have to be changed. Plus, I don't think any card is particularly trustworthy, nor can I do business without any cards at all.

So I shall stay vigilant.

And grumble and complain.

RDC said...

In my life time I have not had the issues that you have had during the last 6 months.

It is easy enough to get an equivalent card at another institution. Leave that one active but move all of your business to someone else. Now it cannot be all that difficult to give your vendors a different card number.

Quimby said...

RDC, are you serious. Please name a Credit Card bank that DOES not play these games. USAA Maybe?

This pisses me off to. The only time I've paid a finance charge in the last decade is when First USA switched my date around.

It is fraud.

Live on the Fly said...

Geez, Duncan, in the time it took you to rant, you could've signed up for an automatic online payment and be done with it.

Duncan McGeary said...

"YES, BUT...."

I tend to have a hair trigger when it comes to credit card issues -- RDC, you probably just ignore most of what sets me off.

Because I went through interminable Consumer Credit Counseling, which was painful, I'm being careful. I swore I'd never charge more than I had in the bank, would pay off any card that raised my rates, would never pay another late fee or service charge, never allow them to have the upper hand.

And so I haven't. But I'm very prickly about it.

As far as changing numbers and cards and all that; or doing online banking; this is where I give a "yes, but..." answer.

I tend to stick to whatever phone service, bank, card, vendor and home and storefront and cars and wife I have...because I like them, and dubious that the grass is greener.

As much as I change the store's product and look, I don't change much else.

It's where I keep the stress of a small business at bay, I think.

As long as I think I'm paying within the ballpark.

I also tend to think that things 'just happened' that happened ten years ago.

"Why did this thing wear out!" I'll exclaim, and Linda calmly mentions that we bought the damn thing 15 years ago, or something.

So...I don't like being forced to do my banking or payments or whatever in a new way, without it being my choice when I'm damn well good and ready.

So I'll grumble and complain and bitch and moan and throw a fit; and keep on going.

Besides, isn't that what blogging is all about?

RDC said...

Yep. That is what blogging is about.

As far as Quimby is concerned I have had very good luck with Schwab. I have also had good luck with Citibank. American express through Costco also works well.

Also keep in mind that I never keep a balance on a card past the end of the month. I pay the balance when I get the bill and do not try to wait until the last minute when payments are due. I have not had a missed or late payment since 1987 and that one occured when a group of letters I sent at one time all came up missing (cleared any negative impact of that when I sent a copy of the report filed with the Baton Rouge Post Master to the credit card company).

The more you put yourself into a situation where you need them more than they need you the more you end up having to put up with. If you pay off the balance promptly their is not much they can do.

Also I never take a credit card that charges an annual fee. All my cards pay a percent back. If anyone pulls any games I drop them.

bruce said...

Couple of diaries written by a credit card customer service rep with some insider ideas that might be helpful: