I recently recieved a pre approved credit card application in the mail, I thought to myself... "wow, that's odd, my credit is terrible". I quickly began to open the mysterious envelope to find "can it be?" a pre approved credit card, and they even sent the card with the letter.
soon after i noticed something is off, the first thing i noticed was unlike any other credit card there is no major credit agency endorsement, normally a credit card would be backed by one of the major credit agencies like VISA, Mastercard, Discover or American Express, and maybe even a few more, but there was no corner endorsement.
Also out of personal knowledge and working for an online credit card billing processor a few years back, let me tell you, after a while you can read a card # and know what card company what bank and sometimes what specific kind of card someone has just by hearing the number, previously, I noticed this card number started with a 7, now anyone that works with credit cards a good deal would know that Visa always starts with 4, Mastercard with 5, Discover with 6, and Amex with 3, I've gotten gift cards more official than this and can even remember 1 of them having a visa logo in the corner, also the inherent lack of a 3 digit security code (4 digit for amex) or CVV2 number is also kind of odd,
This immediately made me weary, and if it werent for the fact that they mention a possible 6,500.00 credit limit i would have already cut up the card, reading on the first page reads like a dream,
no interest rate ever
possible 6,500.00 credit limit
no down payments
Cash on demand (cash advances)
low late fees
and an immediate 200.00 credit
and so on...
the terms and conditions read like an unwanted pregnancy, If you've ever read one of these, you'll know that these are the real terms that dont appear and bright clears fonts, packed together as tightly as possible , you could almost get vertigo trying to read the whole thing, I noticed a few things in CCA or Capital Credit Alliance Inc's Terms of Service and "Advantages" as they like to call it, First off it gets across the point you will be billed 200 dollars if you accept the terms of this card, the billing will take place within 48-72 hours of activation
my personal favorite section, the "Other charges" section
actually states that the 200 dollars is for the services they offer you, first being their credit protection shield which defers balances for 6 months if you were to become involuntarily unemployed or disabled,
second being purchase security guard, which i had to read closely but what i got out of it is, if "an item you purchase" not the card itself is stolen with 30 days you are not liable for that charge, also if you become deceased the entire balance would be waived
the dispute resolution process actually does advise you to contact one of their "helpful" customer service representatives to resolve most disputes, however I'm not sure i've seen the word arbitration used more frequently ever, the gist of lots of legal babble comes out to, you waive all rights, any and all rights you have will have to be handled within our terms with an attourney present, and most notably the word claim, which you are not allowed to make unless its being filed with a small claims court is defined as:
" The term CLAIM is to be given the broadest possible meaning and includes claims of every kind and nature, including without limitation, any claim, dispute or controversy, that arises under or relates to broken promises, or contract, tort, fraud, constitution, statute, regulation, common law, and equity etc..."
now this doesn't mean you're just screwed, but any claim you file or claim they file against you will be met in small claims court , with several indemnity statements to defend them in their terms of service
actually the section for auto payment, late fees and overdraft protection is pretty straight forward, like any terms of service for a credit card they state that if you are late they will charge you and come after you, and charge outrageous fees if you overdraft, but this is with almost any credit card
the letter closes with an electronic signature code which apparently lets them authorize the card over the phone, kind of scary if the letter were to get into the wrong hands
however you look at it, legally they are in the right, everything they state is legal and backed by their terms of service, and when it comes down to it whatever the ad said, the terms usually say otherwise and will hold up in court, at first glance, although what they are doing is misleading, im sure this might be a service of some interest for someone who frequently purchases from CCA catalogs, (assuming there really is a CCA catalog, i couldnt find one online) and if this is valid the fees are bad in comparisson but still a business has a right to charge a fee, and if we dont like the fee, we choose not to use this service
unfortunately though many people who recieve these may not meet this offer with such the Caveat Emptor attitude, myself or others have met it with, and will to some degree feel cheated by this company, but in the end, I've yet to see a company like this go down for misleading advertising, thats why they have satan's attourney draw up their terms
but thats just how I feel...
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