11/23/2004

Matthew 25:40

I plan on watching "The Secret History of the Credit Card" tonight on PBS (UNC-TV - 10pm). This Frontline/New York Times collaboration (with funding from the Nathan Cummings Foundation) investigates how credit card companies have doubled their revenue from fees in the last 6 years, thanks to practices such as shifting due dates and the removal of state and federal caps on fees.

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.

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"Every day in America, 27 children die from poverty."
(Source: Children's Defense Fund)
[Chewie's source: http://dianedew.com/poor.htm]

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good show. follow it up at pbs.og http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/credit/
also live chat at 11 am wednesday 11/24 at washington-post.com

...max...

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kerry said...

good to see a blog dealing with credit card issues. Credit cards are a necessity in Western Life. Sadly they can be one of our biggest liabilities. I have a site dealing with clever credit card use. You might like to take a look

kerry said...

good to see a blog dealing with credit card issues. Credit cards are a necessity in Western Life. Sadly they can be one of our biggest liabilities. I have a site dealing with clever credit card use. You might like to take a look

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