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Oh Those Credit Card Companies: Part 1

By Dian Vujovich

Hardly a day goes by without someone telling me a credit card horror story. The two that follow are doozies.

Got a call the other night from a friend who had been using a credit card to run their small business. That’s been a common practice for many sole proprietors for years. And for those who make timely and appropriate payments, has worked just fine. Until recently.

This fellow, who didn’t want to be identified, got a letter from the company that suggests that we don’t leave home with it, stating that they were putting a credit limit on his card. The young man was puzzled and couldn’t understand the reason for the cap or change in his card terms. Particularly, since he’d always paid this debt off in full each month. The monthly balance carried frequently was over $20,000. So, he telephoned the company in hopes of rectifying this matter.

I’m not sure why he didn’t have a heart attack when he learned that the new cap on his card would be $900. Or, pass out when he found out that the company would do nothing for him in spite of his good credit history or frequent use of their card.

A similar thing happened to me. When I called them to question their actions I was told that they had no problem with my payment history but felt I had too much debt. So I said to them: “How much debt I carry is none of your business. What ought to be your only concern is whether or not I pay my bills to you on time. Period.”

While giving them a piece of my mind felt good, the person at the other end of the line could have cared less about what I thought.

My friend thinks that credit card companies are digging their own holes. I do too. With America’s credit mess, the honest folks who pay their debts on time are being punished. That’s not only stupid. It’s bad business.

Additionally, with responsible small business owners unable to use their credit cards, I can’t help but wonder how many small businesses will have to close their doors because of today’s ridiculous credit card policies. No doubt that will be a figure we’ll all read about in the future.

BYW, from The Wall Street Journal on Jan.26, 2009: “American Express reported net income of $172 million for the fourth quarter, down 79% from a year ago. The company said spending by its members was down 10% from a year earlier.”

Gee, I wonder why.

Part 2 of “Oh Those Credit Card Companies” coming soon.

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