My girlfriend has been steadily paying down a good-sized amount of debt since she received her masters degree a couple years ago. I have been encouraging her to sign up with credit card companies who have been giving 0% interest rates on balance transfers for at least 6 months. Although it dings her FICO score a little bit, she is able to stay ahead by paying down what ends up being mostly principal on her credit card debt. Each time she gets a credit card offer in the mail, I look it over and tell her whether it seems like a good deal or not. I have an MBA Finance, but you don't need one to understand that they are giving 0% on balance transfers for a limited time. I mean, they make it pretty darn clear. However, I always read the fine print on these offers just to make sure that my girlfriend is getting a good deal.
I gave her the go-ahead to sign up with a Fleet card several months ago and transfer 2 other balances to this card. She filled out the information and sent it in. Soon thereafter, she found out that all of the money she wanted to have transferred was done, which amounted to roughly $12,000.
When her first statement came in, she was surprised to see that it was racking up a lot of finance charges. I believe they were quoting her at an interest rate of 3.9%, and I told her to call them up when she had the time and let them know she signed up for 0%.
Unfortunately, she got caught in what I believe was a bait-and-switch tactic designed to get her to commit to a rate. She called them when I wasn't around, and Fleet said they would cut the rate to 2.5% as a "favor" to her. She complied because she didn't want any problems, as she was once caught in a moving scam and her credit card company held her responsible to make the payment to one of the reputable moving companies involved in the scam. And also, we did not keep the document stating the supposedly fantastic 0% offer she was supposed to receive, as we never had this problem before. In fact, I rolled over a balance to Fleet about 9 months ago and I did not have any problems.
While I have no evidence, I am speculating that the reason this is occurring is because of Fleet's merger with Bank of America. I have received Bank of America credit card offers in the past and I never got promotional offers from them at a 0% introductory rate, although they may exist. I believe the possible reasons behind these deceptive tactics could include incentives/bonuses for both telemarketing personnel and executives of the company, or employees of the company are trying to come up with ways of making themselves look good (i.e. create revenue and earnings) before the inevitable headcount reduction occurs during the post-merger restructuring process.
I am 100% confident that Fleet Credit Card Services is being deceptive on this issue. It is unfortunate because I felt they gave me a great deal on my card, and yet they had to screw over my girlfriend who has a harder time making ends meet, and has been scarred by a previous scam that was not her fault at all. I feel that Bank of America is directly or indirectly behind these shenanigans as well.