About a year and a half ago, I signed up for an Advanta credit card to take advantage of a balance transfer offer. I signed up for the offer online. It was for 0% for 12 months, and then 4.99 (or it may have been a bit higher, but not much higher--I could kick myself for not printing off the offer and filing it) for the life of the loan.
About a month or so ago, I noticed that my interest rate was at 16.99%. I was shocked and called Advanta and asked them why such a high interest rate when I had a life of the loan interest rate offer. The customer service supervisor said that they changed the rate in February and that many customers were affected.
They said that I had received a notice telling me that my interest rate was increasing. I told them that I didn't receive such a notice. I would have noticed an increase to 16.99%. I was upset, but decided to keep the credit line open and pay it at 16.99.
Now, on Saturday, I received my statement, and my rate had increased to 34.99%!
I was furious. Such a high interest rate should be illegal--wasn't that at one point considered usury?!
I called Advanta this morning and they said that the new interest rate went into effect in June and that I was sent a notice in May telling me about the 34.99% rate. I of course did not receive such a notice. I would have gone through the roof. They said the reason they changed the terms of the account so drastically was because of the economy. Pretty slimy! Also the customer service supervisor lied to me and told me that I never had a fixed interest rate offer, only a 12 months 0% offer. I know what I signed up for. She said maybe I signed up for the wrong offer. Well, that's an understatement!
They said my only recourse was to "opt out" of the account, which closed the count, and pay it at 16.99%. Keep in mind that I was supposed to have a life of the loan fixed rate.
This is outrageous. Advanta is taking ADVANTAGE of members of the small business community by offering easy credit through attractive bait and switch offers. Their business practices are deceptive. They should be put out of business.
Stay away from Advanta. They are the worst credit card company I have ever dealt with. I have had numerous credit card accounts over the years and I have NEVER had a late payment. Responsible borrowers should not be treated this way.
I hope that there is a class-action law suit against Advanta. I would be happy to join such a class.
Also, I wrote the Lou Dobbs show asking them to expose this crooked businesses unfair and deceptive business practices.