Tuesday, November 18, 2008

No tears

The Outpost used to have a credit card through troubled Citigroup. We didn't do it on purpose; we got the card through another company, which Citigroup then bought.

We paid the monthly bill on time for several years. Citigroup's own records don't show that we were ever late. Then one month earlier this year I let the bill get lost in the endless piles of paper on my desk. I didn't know it was due until a few days after it was late and somebody from the company called and asked about it. I paid the bill the next morning, plus the payment for the following month.

No use, of course. Our interest rate more than doubled. The Citigroup rep said we should call and ask to have the increase reversed since we had such a good payment history. But as it happened, we had better options available at the time, and I didn't feel like pleading. I closed the account. Instead of making a small but solid profit from me every month, Citigroup's profit went to zero.

No doubt the company works under some formula by which that calculation makes sense. No doubt most people don't have the options we did and just have to swallow the increase -- if they can, or go under, if they can't.

But it seems to me that a company too big to know who its honest customers are might be too big to be in business. And it shouldn't expect my vote for a bailout.

6 comments:

jcurmudge said...

I've has the same problem with Bank One and also cancelled. My current card is paid through the Internet and gives me no problems. The Card is handy as I pay it off every month.

problembear said...

i owned my own business for years and my motto was to never reward bad behavior. it works. if everyone did this we could burn all the "weeds" that have choked off our economy and start producing again. the bush years of rewarding bad behavior (greed, fear, hatred) have left us in this mess. we need to burn the weeds out to start a good crop again.

Mark T said...

I don't know if you are aware of this, David, but people who have many cards and miss a payment on one of them will find that the interest rates are jacked up on all of them.

It would be very easy to make that sort of behavior illegal. Just pass a law. We'll see if the new Democratic congress has the temerity to take on the credit card issuers.

Todd said...

Vice President Biden might represent a stumbling block to new credit card legislation, though perhaps he'll be less in the thrall of credit card banks now that he no longer has to represent their interests in congress.

Anonymous said...

Mark,

Yes, it will be interesting to see if, as you say, "the new Democratic congress has the temerity to take on the credit card issuers,"

It might be easier this time around because one of the obstacles - Sen. Joe Biden - now no longer belongs to the legislative branch of government.

Don't forget - he's from Delaware, home of MNBA. And, a few years ago, when Congress considered bankruptcy legislation to help folks with big credit card debts and unforeseen expenses (e.g. medical bills), 'ole Joe rode to the rescue of the folks he was beholden to at MNBA.

Mark T said...

I'm no Bidenite.