Saturday, July 11, 2009

Corporate Credit Fraud

Rant with indelicate language follows.

In reviewing my finances to see if I can honestly afford the karate (probably not), I took a look at my Bank of America credit statement covering most of the Alaska expenses. They charged me a $39 late fee and listed my payment as processed 2 days after the due date. Ahem. Wells Fargo processed the payment electronically 2 days BEFORE the due date with the warning that it might take 2 days to process it. (So it might have been queued up to send 4 days before. Funny how NetBank could always process it on the same day...)

I'm sorry, you lying, cheating fraudulent motherfuckers, but when we mailed our payments in, the payment day on record was the day it fucking arrived - and back when you couldn't legally assrape us as easily the postmark date was sometimes enough - not the day you deigned to bother to cash the check. But for you to just sit on my instantaneous electronic payment for 4 days and make me waste my lunch hour or work time to call back and correct it is goddamned fraud, pure and simple. Even if you do reverse it (and it's still not clear you took off the finance charge and the "late" tick mark on my permanent record), you were trying to cheat me as a matter of standard practice because chances are even if I notice the late charge buried in the middle of my regular purchases, you know I'm not going to hire a lawyer to get back an $8 finance charge.

Unfortunately for me, BoA has been buying up all my credit cards and my mortgages (and I'm pretty sure they hire guys with tire irons for enforcement). My two oldest cards that I've had for about 20 years now have been bought up by these fucknuts. They've also scaled back the credit limit I've had for the last 8 years. I've had a giant limit without abusing it, which is part of the reason they claimed for recinding it, "oh, you didn't need it". WTF? No, I never did "need" it as such, but the ratio of credit used vs. extended affects my credit rating and if you pull out $25K off the amount extended, it hurts my credit rating without actually having anything whatsoever to do with me or reflecting my ability to pay. If you're pulling it back, don't say it's because of something I've done or not done, just say the economy sucks and you have new criteria. Don't fucking tell me that I'm suddenly a bad credit risk now that I have (theoretical) collateral (yes, the condo's underwater), but earn almost 35% more than I did when I was granted the higher credit limit.

Bank of America - much like the Bush years, is not *my* America. I hate these cheating douchnozzles more than I can express. I've used credit cards for 20 years and for 18 of it, it was a positive experience. And last time I checked (pre-rescinding), my credit score was almost 800. I can't even comprehend what kind of fraudulent tricks they try on people with bad credit. Especially in the last 2 years when they can charge rates that used to be illegal as usury, etc. (Hah, hah, remember when 24% was a hard upper limit and they still made money hand over fist?) Now to dig up one of my other cards, see if there's still a credit card company who will work with me instead of against me. And if you're a credit lobbyist out there whining that giving me 45 days notice before jacking up my APR to 34.99% will make your company unsustainable, cry me a river, motherfucker, and get an honest fucking job instead.

Other shady practices (I think it was Chase that did this): offer a low balance transfer rate then make the first payment due before you send out the first statement. Later when you get fixed autopayments, double the minimum payment to $5 more than the autopayment amount and start charging late fees for not paying the minimum. That was real classy too. Now whenever I move a balance, I pester the crap out of the rep on the phone to get the exact payment information and set up the first payment for just over twice the minimum, two weeks after the transfer so I'm not waiting for them to send me information too late to use.

(On the other hand, if BoA canned your ass because your years at MBNA made you too "soft" to just say NO to all customer requests, and you've gone out and started a credit company with actual customer service that doesn't require extra lube or a strong gag reflex, send me an offer. I will gladly use your service. MBNA always treated me like they wanted my business.)

/rant, once again safe for mom to read.

I actively liked MBNA. I'm currently withholding any actual liking of credit companies through at least the rest of this year. After that we'll see. Credit companies I don't currently loathe: Discover, Amex, Citi, whoever offers the Target card, Sears, Home Depot. This makes it look like I have a ton of cards. I do. Every store I've ever breathed near has tried to give me a card regardless of my interest in it. However, I don't *use* a ton of cards. I have one for carrying a balance at an extremely low rate (0% from 2001-2007, about 4% now). I carry one card for purchases in person and one card for online purchases and these get paid off monthly or within a a couple of months when things are tight. The rest are backup or used for specific large buys like getting 10% off my fine countertop or free delivery of my refrigerator. The rest gather dust until I decide to rotate the "in use" ones to keep them active.


Anonymous said...

I launched BofA years ago when they'd process my payments as *late* even though I'd mail them out the day I'd receive them. At the time I lived in South Pasadena and their offices were in Pasadena so there was no way in **ck it was travel time that made my payments late.


SandyCo said...

Yes, BofA has a reputation for being a bunch of tight-fisted, money-grubbing bastards. Their favorite word is "no". Yet if you're a customer, they try to "upsell" you on their products like crazy. As a new employee there (through no choice of my own; my company was bought by them), I was offered $50 to open a BoA checking account. After all the things I've heard, no thanks!

What they're doing to credit card users doesn't surprise me in the least. They're also switching pay dates, etc. I'd flee, too. I loved MBNA also, and was sad to see them get bought out.

CrankyOtter said...

So those "charge them a false late fee and hope they don't notice" policies aren't new... Not surprising.

Can you tell I've been reading the Rude Pundit?

MarciaBC said...

We were MBNA customers for 20 years, as well, when they were purchased by BofA. In the last year, MBNA had shortened the payment period between statement date and due date by 7 - 10 days. So far, BofA has not pulled any oddness, but I am watching them like a hawk, and keep my Consumer Reports for alternative issuers if needed. We only keep two credit cards, though, and I only have the Kohl's card because you get extra discounts when you use them for purchases. I consider it more of a coupon than a credit card.


gail said...

I actually HAD a credit card department that cared about and GASP knew our customers and didn't charge insane fees --- but the all-knowing fed closed it down --- so I do know what you are talking about --- and BoA is the world's worst about attempting to bilk fees from the unsuspecting and unwary cardholder - have been since the beginning of their now government sanctioned take-over ---though I lose the thread where the Bush admin is responsible for/caused this latest SNAFU with BofA (as you knew someone like me would).

I can tell you that there will be NO ding on your credit report --- they can only ding if you are 30 days late. If they do somehow ding you --- let me know and I can help you get it off there pronto.

just sayin!