We received the dreaded "tissue paper pamphlet" with our credit card statement today. We DO READ THESE THINGS, and you should, too.
We have always enjoyed a good relationship with Fleet; payments made on time for more than the minimum required and we were getting close to paying this card off. We also enjoyed a 9.8% interest rate which we felt was indicative of a "reward" for being an upstanding customer.
Imagine my surprise to read that Fleet proposes to raise our interest to 14.99%! Our first thought was that somehow things on our credit report had been messed up (identity theft or something). I called to see what was going on. I was told that with our low balance, Fleet was NOT MAKING ENOUGH MONEY from our account at the current rate of interest!
Here is what I wrote to Fleet:
Dear Fleet Credit Card Services,
We are responding to the notice of proposed changes to our account #**** **** **** ****. We do NOT accept the changes, and will pay off the balance at the current rate.
We also have a Fleet Business Card for our business and assume that if the balance becomes low on that card we will receive another proposed interest rate increase notice. At that point, you will receive another rejection of terms letter. Between the two cards, Fleet is drawing 20.79% interest as of today. I am sorry that you feel that this is not a good enough return.
We will apply at our local bank for cards to replace both of these cards. There is a $25.00 annual fee, but the interest rate is 9.50%. It does not take a math major to realize that the $25.00 per year is going to be a lot less in the long run than the 5.19% increase in interest that you propose to levy on all future purchases.
We have enjoyed our relationship with Fleet in the past and always did our best to be good customers. Evidently, in today's profit-driven society, that no longer counts for anything.
Fleet did not do anything illegal as we were notified of the proposed changes in plenty of time to respond in writing as the law requires. Was what they proposed to do good for us as a consumers? NO! Was it moral or ethical? Not in our opinion!
We all know what misery folks are in for if, God forbid, they should fall behind because of illness in the family or the loss of a job. It seems awful that folks will also be punished (and that is what I feel they were trying to do) for being GOOD customers! How is anyone supposed to ever get ahead?
Actually, we do not have to have a credit card at all. We like to keep one for emergencies, but we believe we would be better served by tucking our money into a savings account for a rainy day. I will pay this account off at the minimum payment required and put the "extra" we have been sending Fleet aside and draw interest for ourselves.
The moral of this story is: DO NOT TAKE ANYTHING FOR GRANTED WITH CORPORATE AMERICA! No matter how longstanding your relationship with a company, no matter how much you feel you have earned a "favored customer" status, ALWAYS READ THOSE TISSUE PAPER PAMPHLETS!! They are still out there looking for and finding ways to pick your pockets!