Thursday, October 23, 2008

Take Sip Of Coffee. Open Credit Card Bill. Spit Take!

You know the economy is bad when the credit card companies need more money.

I was paying my credit card bills this week when I noticed that one of my minimum payments had shot up considerably, and by considerably I mean by a time-to-sell-my-bodily-fluids amount.

This was a card I had since college. I had never missed a payment, hadn’t used the card in months, and was paying over the minimum every month in my attempt to pay down my overall credit debt. I’d even paid the card off completely a few years ago. My history was fine, although it was a Cubs Visa, so I should have figured that something would go wrong.

Closer inspection of my statement revealed that MBNA was raising my interest rate from 12% to 29%. I called customer service immediately, and was placed on hold giving me plenty of time to entertain the idea of trading in the Daewoo for a Ford Tempo.

Finally a cheerful-sounding man (they’re always in a good mood, the bastards) answered, and I explained the problem. “Ouch,” he said obviously looking over my statement. It’s bad when even the credit people feel sorry for you. It’s kind of like a homeless person making fun of your outfit.

Mr. Happy Pants explained that I should have received some mail from MBNA explaining the changes in terms of service and offering an option to opt out of the new agreement. Sure, I get change-of-service notices from the credit card companies every month. I don’t read them because usually it isn’t a warning that I’m about to get raped. But now I realized they send you all that meaningless shit so they can sneak this kind of thing through. I decided to play dumb.

“Oh. I didn’t get that warning.”

They guy transferred me to another woman whose job it was to sound more authoritative and decidedly less happy than her co-workers. “Well, you’ve had a balance for some time now,” she told me. “Credit cards aren’t meant to be loans.”

“Well if you want me to pay it off, how is raising my interest rate going to help?” I asked.

I honestly didn’t mind if they raised my minimum payment, but with the new interest rate, all I would be able to do would be to pay interest each month, and I’d have to buy all my gold chains from that guy on the street corner.

Of course her little lecture about responsible credit use was completely hypocritical in the first place. My high balance was keeping her employed. Luckily, before I got a chance to get really angry, she let me opt out of the new interest rate as long as I didn’t use the card anymore.

In these times I’m glad I only contribute $10 a paycheck to my 401K. (Yes, receptionists get those.) This weekend I’m investing my money in something a little safer than the stock market-- I'll be at the Breeder’s Cup.


Kristy said...

yeah - i hate the credit card companies. they are little, sneaky, evil hencemen of the devil.

Anonymous said...

Why does every schmoe that went to college have a bad debt with MBNA? If they were a tobacco company, I could picture them lurking around grade schools with a lovely, introdcutoy pack of menthols.

One of my great post college moments was when i paid off my MBNA card and I had overpaid it by 32 cents. I called them and made them mail me a 32 cent check.

I still have it and when I'm feeling down, i like to look at it and rememeber the time I beat the devil.

Now I'm thinking it might be more fun to give MBNA a call, and rub it in their face that THEY WILL NEVER HAVE MY MONEY AGAIN.

if I do, I'll post the transcript in the comment section.

swag said...

I thought MBNA vanished months ago with the BofA acquisition.

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