Thursday, October 13, 2005

And another (credit) thing...

I have to add to my utter disgust with credit card companies and banks the absolute fraud perpetrated through the "Pre-Approved" and "Balance Transfer" offers advertised by these companies.

In my recent experience with Chase Bank, they offered a 12-month 0% interest balance transfer option for a new Visa. Our household income, and credit status, is enough to qualify us for quite a bit - to the tune of tens of thousands (I know because of loan discussions with my personal bank). So, I took the bait and applied to transfer my $8K American Express balance to them. Heck, American Express themselves just offered me another card with a $20K limit, so this should be a done deal.

Or so I thought.

I got my new card in the mail from Chase Bank with a note apologizing that they couldn't transfer the entire balance requested (the $8K) because it was greater than the limit they provided on my new card. Yeah, I've heard that bait and switch before.

But, it continued...

They were happy to have earned my business and were pleased to report that they had transferred the amazing sum of $300 onto my card - the most they could based on my new card's $500 limit.

What? Surely that's a typo and they meant $5000

Nope. A call to "customer service" (where "service" is absent) verified that this was in fact all correct. I've just been given the same card they give to either someone who has no job, has filed for bankruptcy, or has no credit whatsoever.

$500! Yippee!

What an insult! And what brain-dead human would receive a request for an $8000 transfer and then actually process a $300 transfer and $500 limit and believe that was in any way acceptable. Did they call? Send an email or letter asking if I still wanted to do this? Of course not - that would have been customer service.

To me this is fraud, pure and simple. I didn't apply for a $500 credit card, or a balance transfer of $300. I applied for a balance transfer of $8000. Period. If they couldn't process that request - the actual one I made - then they need to inform me of that BEFORE processing anything!

That's like me buying a Corvette and when I show up at the dealer to pick it up they give me a pair of roller skates instead - and inform me that they've already charged me for them.

Sorry, that doesn't cut it. And banks need to be held responsible for these bait & switch practices.

The problem is not the credit consumer - the problem is the banks, like my new least favorite Chase. And they need to be punished.

I'm sure my five minute tirade to customer support, and my newly closed account, mean nothing to them. Maybe my complaints to the Better Business Bureau and the State Attorney General will at least make me feel better.

Either way, I can safely say I will never do business with Chase Bank again. Maybe if a few million more people stopped doing business with these companies when they abuse their power they'll finally get a clue.

Then again, maybe not...



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