Back in September of 2007 I received a notice stating that the APR terms of my account were to change from 16.4% to a whopping 26.99%. The notice stated that if I disagreed with the change, they would close the account and drop the APR back down to 16.4% until the account was paid in full. Rather than send the letter at that time, I decided to call them. When I told them I disagreed with the increased APR, they specifically told me to "wait until Nov. 8th, call back, and ask for a lower APR." This I did, but they refused to change it. I in turn told them that I wasn't going to pay 26.99% on the account, then the next day I typed out a dispute letter informing them that I disagreed with the higher APR. From that time forth, nothing changed. I just called them this evening (December 31st, 2007) and found that not only is the account still open, but for last month they STILL charged me 26.99%, which translated to over $90 in interest for the month of November alone. At this point I demanded to speak to a manager. I told him everything that happened and that I refused to pay that much in interest, and in response he stated that he "would call me back in a few days after reviewing the written dispute letter I had sent in." Chances are he will not call back at all, because the the truth is, for the past three months now, with all the calls back and forth trying to resolve this situation, I have been getting nothing but the run-around. One of the other report filers about this company is right: The CSR people who answer the phone are like highly-trained robots who refuse to do anything positive for their customers. It's like pulling teeth. The fact is, that due to my higher balance, and regardless of the fact that I pay all my payments on time, and ALWAYS pay more than the minimum payment, they DELIBERATELY increased my APR so like vampires they could suck more money out of me.
An example of their run-around tactics: Back in Sept. after I received the notice about the higher APR, I called in to ask why they were increasing it. They said, "Well sir, last month your account went over the limit," at which point I broke in and said, "Wait a second. The only reason my account went over the limit in the first place is NOT the result of a purchase I had made, but the result of finance charges which pushed the balance over the top. As a result, you also charged me an Over The Limit fee....on your own finance charges!" That was ridiculous and completely unfair, but again they did NOTHING positive about it.
The second time, earlier this month, when I had called and asked them why my APR changed, this time they stated, "Well sir, we're actually doing this to all of our customer accounts." So which is true? I have no idea, but they said it was the result of one thing back in September, and later said it was the result of something entirely different.
At any rate, I spoke with a manager this evening, asking about the status of the written letter of complaint I had sent, and the fact that they had not closed the account nor changed the terms back to my previous APR. He stated he would "have to check into it and call me back in a few days." Whether he will or not, in consideration of the complete lacking of success I have had in dealing with this bank, I have little or no confidence that anything will be resolved. Thus the filing of this complaint. The truth is that the only reason they increased my APR in the first place is because of my higher balance. If my balance were $500, you can bet they would never have changed the APR in the first place. This is a deliberate act in order to siphon more money out of me, and probably those other customers having higher balances as well. If you recall, back in the 80's when Sears increased their APR from 18% to 21%, they wound up in a class action lawsuit because they applied the new interest rate on purchases previously made by their customers BEFORE they changed the rate. That was deemed illegal, after which they were ONLY allowed to apply the new rate on NEW purchases ONLY, taking place after the APR change. Previous balances were then changed back to the original 18%. Orchard Bank is now attempting to do the same exact thing that Sears did all those years ago. I never agreed to that, and it's completely unfair for them to just bump-up my APR to an INSANE 26.99% on my entire balance of purchases made at the lower APR. In closing, I've told them numerous times that if they continue to attempt to charge me that higher APR, I will not pay the account at all. For now I will continue to file the necessary complaints, including a dispute with the credit bureau, which I will work on next.
As for their late fees, I have been charged $39 three times, EVEN THOUGH I MADE THE PAYMENT ONLINE BEFORE THE DUE DATE. When I called to complain that was unfair, they tried to claim that the reason was because it "takes two days for the transfer to complete." That's ridiculous, and another fat lie. Why is it that with my other accounts, the payment posts either the SAME DAY, or the NEXT day, depending on whether or not you make the payment by 12pm? Good question, eh? The truth is that they set that up deliberately as well, in order to screw people over by charging late fees. Making a payment online is near instantaneous. It's a direct electronic transfer. For them to actually set it up so the customer gets screwed over just goes to show that this bank is run by thieves and cut-throats.
Well, if they're going to treat me like that, and refuse to resolve the situation to my advantage, I'm going to refuse to pay the account and they can eat my debt to them for lunch. Then when they try to collect, I'll give them what for, file a statement about it on my credit report, and tell them not to call here ever again. (By law, if you tell them that, they are required to comply.) In closing, last night I also filed a complaint against them with the FTC. If you've been ripped off by this bank, do the same.
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