My company opened a business credit card account with Advanta Bank Corp about a year ago with an introductory interest rate of 7.99%. Once past the introductory period, rates were fluctuating from 8-10% on balances carried forward.
Charges have not exceeded about 50% of the credit limit of $15,000. No payment has ever been missed or late. Payments have normally been significantly more than the minimum required. A check of my credit history with Equifax, Experian, and Transunion on 1/29/2009 reveals no negative issues of any kind, with credit scores being in the very good range (average score of 750).
On December 16, 2008, because of the "rate jacking" practices that seem to be increasing by unscrupulous credit card companies, I proactively called all of the credit card companies with whom we have accounts to check the status of interest rates being charged and to be sure that we had not been unknowingly "jacked".
In speaking with the Advanta Customer Service representative, I was informed that my interest rate had been increased on December 2, 2008 to 27.18%, a 300% increase! I advised the representative that I had no knowledge of such a change and asked what justification they used to triple the interest rate. She said they had sent me a notice prior to the increase (which I did not see), and she was unable to provide any specific reason for the increase.
I protested the increase vehemently in writing to the company, both through the Customer Service Department and with a registered letter to the president of Advanta, Mr. Dennis Alter. I never received back the registered mail receipt, nor a response from Mr. Alter. Advanta did reverse the interest rate on the balance, with the condition that the account be closed and the balance paid off. I have since paid the balance in full and the account has been closed.
This action by Advanta was unjustified, unscrupulous in the way it was implemented, and in my opinion, usury. In checking the internet for other victims of Advanta's practices, there are many. This company should be investigated for it's practices and held accountable.
Coral Springs, Florida