I don't know the details - hope to become more informed tonight - but a friendly Supreme Court decision a year and a half ago apparently opened the gates of heaven to credit card companies. They can now charge you whatever they want, whenever they want.
It's no secret that if you're struggling financially, capitalism doesn't work. You can't "take your business elsewhere" and force market correction if fees and high interest rates have increased your debt to the point where you are not considered credit-worthy - a benchmark set by the very corporations that helped get you there.
Word on TOTN this morning is that MBNA management, in particular, are watching this documentary and public reaction closely. One interviewee, a small business owner, had his interest rate personally lowered by the President of MBNA after his participation in the documentary.
Advice from the experts: if an issuer of credit cards takes advantage of you and refuses to correct it, go public. Since deregulation, market pressure and public outcry are the only weapon consumers have against outrageous fees and volatile interest rates. A famous internet example was the now-in-hiatus website mbnasucks.com. Google "MBNA sucks" and you'll find plenty of evidence that something is rotten in Delaware. And there are others.
These card companies are the criminals, the sheriff, and the courts in Credittown. A citizens' revolt is overdue.
"Every day in America, 27 children die from poverty."
(Source: Children's Defense Fund)
[Chewie's source: http://dianedew.com/poor.htm]