BoA Buys MBNA, Starts Charging Customers Extra For Not Paying Balances Off In Full

Bank of America recently bought MBNA and greeted their new customers by charging them a new fee.

Now if you don’t pay off your entire balance in full every month, BoA will impose a $1.50 minimum finance charge.

According to Boston.com, this is one of the “highest ever seen” minimum finance charges for the banking industry.

Ex-MBNA customers must send a letter to BoA, and it must reach them by May 1, in order to reject the charges.

To that effect, reader Mary Marsala with Fries sent the following acerbic letter…

(Photo: Betsssssy)


Hello,

This letter is to inform you that I find your attempt to change the terms of my contract in ways that negatively impact me, without offering any type of compensation or positive benefit to me, absolutely abhorrent. I categorically reject each of the changes in terms — at the very least, the addition of a minimum finance charge. I would also reject each of the other changes if possible, since obviously none of them are in my interests as a customer, but I cannot tell from your letter if you are giving me this option (or are required to give me this option) or not. If I have the option to reject any of the other changes to my contract, I hereby do so. The change in payment due-dates especially is a truly disgusting thing to attempt to do to someone’s account, and an obvious money-grab for more of your obscenely-overpriced late fees. I have always made my payments on time — obviously that bothers you. Awww, poor you.

I have been a customer of MBNA’s with these accounts for several years, but your onerous business practices and bullying have totally put me off doing any further business with Bank of America. I refuse to give money to a company who will change the terms of my contract for the worse at any opportunity, and force me to do the legwork just to keep the same, barely-satisfactory terms I had before. I will be seeking a new bank to hold my credit accounts immediately, and advising everyone I know to do the same.

And on a more personal note, kiss my a$$.

Here’s a copy of the letter BoA sent its new customers informing them of the changes. Click to enlarge.

http://consumermediallc.files.wordpress.com/2007/04/mbnatermchange1-thumb.jpg?w=522&h=675

http://consumermediallc.files.wordpress.com/2007/04/mbnatermchange2-thumb.jpg?w=522&h=675

— BEN POPKEN

Comments

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  1. superlayne says:

    She might catch a few flies. Would work better with honey, but if that stunt was pulled on me, I don’t think I could be sweet either.

  2. homerjay says:

    Looks like its time to find a new business card. I was a little irked when my MBNA card became a BoA card last month– and I didn’t even notice this!

    Unacceptable. Anybody have any good ideas for a business credit card with rewards?

  3. Saydur says:

    This is why I loathe institutionalized usury.

  4. calcbert says:

    I received an almost identical notice, though from FIA Card Services, the company that recently took over my card from MBNA. A lot of the text is the same, the due date for rejection is the same, and the PO box is the same.

  5. emilayohead says:

    Maybe this sounds like a dumb question, but . . . don’t you always get a finance charge when you don’t pay your balance in full every month? Isn’t this just saying that if you have a really, really low balance so that the finance charge would be, say, one dollar, this would impose a minimum of $1.50? I must be missing something major here, because that doesn’t seem like a big deal to me.

  6. Athenor says:

    I have been riding on a $1000 maxed out credit card that I haven’t been able to pay down. I know it’s a bad thing…

    I got the card through my local bank. My local bank then sold its credit card arm to MBNA. MBNA was then bought by BoA. Over the last 2 years, I’ve seen me get hit with overdraft fees twice due to the finance charges. I have seen my minimum monthly payment double, and my APR skyrocket. When I got this letter, I kind of shrugged it off.. Because I feared that if I rejected the finance charge, they would put my CC into default and I wouldn’t have a way to pay it off.

    I wish I had your e-mailer’s courage.

  7. catnapped says:

    I’ve seen minimum finance charges on some cards in the $2-3 range (if not higher).

    None of mine, luckily…

  8. harleymcc says:

    That’s my new client…

    Don’t hate me.

  9. AT203 says:

    I do not see it in this letter from MBNA, but I have seen letters in the past that when you reject a change to the contract you are actually rejecting the terms of the new contract in its entirety.

    It is similar to that adverse/material change scenario that people have been using to get out of cell-phone contracts. Except it is being brought to your attention by the company, instead of you bringing it up with the company.

    I would call customer service to see what the case is before doing this. That is, if you care about them cancelling the card. It might be touchy if you’re carrying a balance and then have to pay it off in full when the account closes.

  10. timmus says:

    What in the living hell is the “IJ110228668-51526-1158-2-DM11-N-5P-E-0-MB-05-01-8- -00-MB-1X-.00-1X.00–1X-1X-0-2-2-22-.00-1.00-15.00-2-3-1-1X- -C-Y-1X-0- -0- -2-8AGU-9597-329597″ code printed at the bottom of the letter? That just screams “monolithic corporation”.

  11. mattont says:

    I got this letter myself, and was equally angered by it. I went through the process to reject the institution of the minimum finance charge. I have paid off my balance in full every month since I got my card, and have enjoyed using MBNA’s and then BoA’s money for free for a few days. I guess now they are trying to get me back.

    I’d like to move on from BoA, as I have not been impressed with their service for the credit cards or their banking products. Still, I am very much attached to my Working Assets credit card, which benefits progressive causes. Hmmm, what to do…

    Screw ‘em playing the credit card arbitrage game and then donate the money to progressive causes myself!

  12. rubberpants says:

    @timmus

    That’s your entire permanent record encoded in a format that only witch doctors can read, kind of like telling the future by reading chicken bones.

  13. Henri says:

    This should not be too troublesome for most people. You would need a very low balance to have your finance charge be less than this.

    It is, however, wrong. A credit card is, after all, a credit card and meant to be a flexible loan from the bank at the agreed rate and borrowers shouldn’t be penalized for keeping a low (or having a nearly paid off) balance. It is just a case of the bank trying to up their fees a bit. They make more money on the high balances because more of the bank’s money is at risk and don’t deserve a bonus because you don’t tie up their assets.

    Banks repeatedly say that it costs them to process things when it does not. Back in the old days of people doing the work, there was some justification for this but in the computer universe, it doesn’t cost them anymore to process a low balance than a high one.

    It is much like the overdraft charges of $25-$35 that many banks charge, claiming that it costs them to not pay the check. The odds are very good that no human being was involved at any point in bouncing a check, the majority of their costs coming from answering questions from the people they charged.

    I challenge any bank to show me how it costs them $25 to bounce a check. If it does, they really need to be in a different business cause they don’t know how to handle checking accounts efficiently.

  14. Disgruntled CC Employee says:

    Got that letter. I was afraid it was a phishing scheme. Guess I have to go do battle now.

  15. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    Assuming you had a balance where the periodic finance charge was less the $1.50, if your APR is 15%, that means you’d have to have (roughly) a balance of $100 or less to drop below the minimum periodic finance charge. If I only owed $100 on a card, I’d just pay it off.

    On the other hand, this would really suck, I suppose, if you bought 2 iTunes songs for $1.98 and then got socked for $1.50 in minimum finance charges. It used to be that if you paid your monthly balance in full, they wouldn’t charge you any periodic finance charges, but I think disappeared a long time ago too.

    It certainly seems like a ploy to either make you carry a larger balance, or weed out those unprofitable souls who pay their bills on time (or at least make some money from them). Still, in the grand scheme of things, the loss of that $1.50 means not being able to afford a half-gallon of gasoline, or maybe a (small) coffee.

    *Engage sarcasm mode*

    Wait…a credit card company trying to screw somebody over..give me a second to looked surprised…how about now? Now? :P

  16. exkon says:

    Damn it….I’m going to talk to my friend who’s a personal banker at BOA…this total crap…

  17. B Tex says:

    homerjay….

    Why don’t you just get a credit union membership and get a credit card through them? I have been a member of a credit union for 12 years and when I finally looked and saw what bank were charging for “usage” fees and intrests rates, I just about pissed my pants from laughing so hard. Really my savings account alone is paying 4.85% intrest and a bonus at the end of the year. And on theri credit card, I don’t even have the privledge of having to pay a fee to pay online!!! What a concept!

  18. cerealfan says:

    I got one of these letters but didn’t open it until seeing this post. The outside of the envelope says “ANNUAL PRIVACY NOTICE AND IMPORTANT AMENDMENTS ENCLOSED”, and I stopped reading after “PRIVACY NOTICE” thinking it wasn’t going to be worth my time.

    Anyway, if it’s a company saying we’re going to charge you $1.50 unless you do something, it’s absurd. And exactly the type of thing the Consumerist is here for.

    Stick it to the man, send in the letter. Even if you wouldn’t ever pay it.

  19. “This is primarily due to a change in our business practices.”

    That’s my favorite part.

    Continued, in my mind:

    “Specifically, we have decided to bend you even farther over and fuck you rightly. Because we can. Higher standards (and fees) and all that. Enjoy.”

    With my card (Citi), every time they offer the opt-out, reject-these-terms, it actually CANCELS your account after the expiration of the card. Not particularly cool, that, seeing as I like to keep lines of credit open for my credit report.

  20. GeekChicCanuck says:

    This truly sucks. I don’t have any personal experience with BoA (and from the looks of this, I’m glad that I don’t) – but I’ve always had good dealings with MBNA.

    When I first moved to the US, I had zero credit and an employee at MBNA spent quite some time explaining the US credit system to me. They gave me my first credit card and my first loan – and they did not charge extra fees because I paid off my credit card in full every month.

    When I moved to Canada, MBNA made sure that my credit information was accessible and that I knew to push the banking/lending industry up here to use my US information. That way I didn’t have to start over, credit-wise.

    It’s truly sad that people who try to be fiscally responsible end up being punished.

  21. Athenor says:

    Here’s a good question:

    Does this only apply to former MBNA card holders, or to every credit card BoA offers?

  22. frankadelic says:

    I received one of these a month or so ago and promptly sent in the “fuck no” letter. I’m shopping around for a new card too. It’s too bad since I’ve had that card for a long time.

  23. Bay State Darren says:

    I knew this merger would hurt when they kicked it off by stealing, namely from U2. However, this is less funny than that was.

  24. uhyesiam says:

    @homerjay:

    I’ve always used AmEx for my business cards. If the company is paying the bills every month, there’s no reason to carry a balance. Best rewards in the business, i think…

  25. Some of the commenters are missing something important, but to be fair, it isn’t in my letter: That minimum finance charge means that you now have to make payments on cards with a zero balance. One of my two cards is empty, “for emergencies only”; this change would mean I have to start paying off the $1.50 (plus interest!) every month, or start accruing a balance!!

    So basically my no-annual-fee card just got a MONTHLY fee attached to it. How nice.

    Damn right I’m sending the letter. ;)

  26. jgkelley says:

    My BoA card (which was MBNA) just sent me an additional letter informing me that they were also going to change the way my APR was calculated. It is currently around 6.99, and it will now be a base Variable APR of 8.something, + the margin which is usually at least 7%. That = 15%, or more than double my current APR. The reason they are doing this, I am told, is that I transferred a balance from another credit card (which had a higher rate) and have thus far not paid down the balance very much. This was about two months ago. I have never missed a payment on any card or loan, in seven years of having credit, and they are raising my rate, because of the fact that I am giving them more money a month in interest charges, which means I should give them more money a month in interest charges. It’s a good thing I don’t have a degree in philosophy or my head would explode…oh wait….*

    (I rejected the changes to my APR, which, in this case, means I can no longer use the card. If I do so after May 1st, I am agreeing to the changes, despite written notification to the contrary.*)

    *- Pop.

  27. Kornkob says:

    You are misreading it. The minimum finance charge only applies if your balance is not paid off in full.

  28. BillyMumphry says:

    At least her letter was written in an adult-like manner. The dollar signs in “ass” scream maturity. I’m sure BoA is very concerned.

    I’ll spin this and say that BoA is performing a public service. You shouldn’t have CC debt. If you don’t want to pay a penalty, pay it off. Or…don’t use a credit card! Pay for things with money you actually have! Novel, I know.

  29. bhall03 says:

    WOW!

    There are a BUNCH of people on here freaking out about this change. I am not aware that any of these are new. BOA isn’t breaking any new ground, although they may be pushing the envelope.

    1. emilayohead is right. If you carry a balance, you will be assessed finance charges, and have been for decades.

    2. Mary Marsala with Fries is INCORRECT. If you actually read the letter it states “You will be assessed a minimum finance charge in each billing cycle in which your total Periodic Rate Finance Charges are less than the minimum amount specified below, but more than zero.” This means, no balance = no minimum finance charge.

    I currently work in the service industry but I worked for a credit card company about 6 years ago. A few years before I left, they instituted a minimum finance charge of $.50 on any unpaid balance, increase late fees and over limit fees to $15, etc.

    ALWAYS read your statements and notices, even if it starts with “ANNUAL PRIVACY NOTICE…” and don’t carry a balance if you can avoid it. If you pay it off, you don’t get finance charges, late fees or over limit fees PLUS the credit card company will HATE you because you are a credit card deadbeat. Always think for yourselves!

  30. Jamie Beckland says:

    I got this letter, and decided I would not reject the change. Rejecting the change would force close the account at the expiration of the current card. If anyone knows of another card with 5.9% fixed APR, plus rewards, please let me know and I’ll be happy to switch to that one.

  31. Mr. Gunn says:

    Yes, oh great guru Billy. We should all not have credit card debt, and the credit card companies would all just roll over and go out of business if only we hearkened to your wise words.

    /STFU
    //GBTW

  32. mac-phisto says:

    that wasn’t the only difference in my ToS. my fixed 11.99% card SINCE 1997 just became a variable based on some index + 11.29835532 (or whatever), so now i’m sitting pretty at 19.99% variable.

    thanks BoA!

    i’ll just pay that card off & let it sit there. i used to use it b/c it was a rewards card for my university, but f/i. i’ll send them a check & use it as a write-off.

  33. Sudonum says:
  34. BillyMumphry says:

    @Mr. Gunn:

    I didn’t say i wanted them to go out of business. You seem to be encouraging cc debt, yes? Sounds like a great idea. Car payments are also smart, you should always finance depreciating assets. I have an ARM i’d like sell you for your next home too.

    For God’s sake if you can’t manage to spend less than you make every month then maybe you aren’t ready for something as advanced as credit.

  35. tvh2k says:

    @Athenor:
    “I have been riding on a $1000 maxed out credit card that I haven’t been able to pay down. I know it’s a bad thing…”

    Perhaps you should look into a loan through Prosper.com. You could probably get a lower APR and pay off that card in full.

  36. silverlining says:

    GAH. I have a Working Assets credit card that was on MBNA (not exactly a treasure trove of good customer service/consumer practices either), which was purchased by BOA. The first thing BOA did was switch my account due date to the beginning of the month instead of the end of the month, resulting in a late payment. They were good about it, thank goodness; reversed the late charge and changed the due date after I complained. But what about those other shmucks out there who just pay their bills automatically? Why not just keep folks’ original payment date?

    The ONLY reason I’m keeping this card is because BOA hosts my Working Assets (www.wald.org) credit card… every time you use the card, $.10 goes to a progressive nonprofit, and you even get to vote each year which orgs will get funding.

    Great org, Working Assets. But why is their credit card managed by such a crappy company?

  37. silverlining says:

    Oops, it’s http://www.wald.com. Apologies.

  38. elf6c says:

    I thought everyone already knew that BoA sucked. Hmm, go figure. Well consider this your notice- they’re terrible.

    The solution for idiocy like this is C-R-E-D-I-T U-N-I-O-N.

  39. silverlining says:

    @Henri: You’re right, Henri. I think the last time MPIRG took on this issue (about ten years ago), it cost the bank about $6 to run the check through again. Something like 90% of the time it went through on the second try. Fees are becoming a primary way for banks to increase profits.

  40. madktdisease says:

    I was sooo angry to see that my NHL credit card (GO OILERS) got bought by BOA.

    I only had a $9 balance because I left my bank card at home one day and needed gas, and I wanted to pay the stupid thing off right away, so I ate the ridiculous $10 charge to submit a phone payment. A rip, but hey, the damn thing’s paid off and off my mind, right?

    THEY PUT THE $10 ON MY NEXT BILL SO IT WAS HIGHER THAN IF I HADNT PAID IT AT ALL.

    I hate you BOA. So. Much.

  41. pdxguy says:

    Nice pic. Betsssssy is a babe!

  42. maddypilar says:

    Rejecting the changes means canceling the card right? I think people have said that already. Well, I haven’t been happy with MBNA since they blamed my Alumni Association for not being able to lower my interest rate below 15.99%. Since then I transferred my balances and haven’t used the card in years. I don’t cancel it b/c I have had it for over 13 years and my credit limit is $24,000. Canceling it would be a blow to my credit rating. So I keep it and never let them make money off of me. I didn’t think I could dislike a credit card company more than I disliked MBNA.

    How I got a limit of over $20,000? When I carried a balance back in college they increased my limit by $500 or more a month so I would never stop using their card. Sure, I was being reckless with my credit and really I am the only one to blame but the way they just kept giving the drug to the addict a little bit at a time makes me angry.

  43. cashmerewhore says:

    This article makes me even more glad I cancelled my BoA (formerly an MBNA) card last month. I had to call customer service five times that month to get my bill straightened out. I won’t miss them. I do, however, miss the Garfield card that I originally had (it was the reason I opened the MBNA account at 19).

  44. fencepost says:

    For the folks with Working Assets, the reasons to have your card may be going away – the Linux Fund had a similar setup, but post-buyout that’s going away. See http://community.linux.com/community/07/04/02/1356254.shtm… for a little bit more information

  45. @silverlining: “The first thing BOA did was switch my account due date to the beginning of the month instead of the end of the month, resulting in a late payment.”

    Oh my God, me too! I screamed bloody murder and mayhem, and after quite some argument, they agreed to move my payment date to the 5th of the month (seriously, what kind of crap-ass credit card company won’t let you pick your own payment date?). It was like that for three months, then they moved it back to the prior date with no notice!

    Since BofA acquired MBNA, we’ve had our terms changed three times in weasely ways. They have thrown me off the account (my husband is the primary user; I’ve always been a full joint user) so that I can no longer deal with billing errors or anything else, which is ridiculous because I manage the money in this house and my husband has better things to do than spend an hour on the phone with BofA, thank you very much. He called and spent the aforementioned hour. They claimed to put me back on, then booted me again. We can no longer access our account on line. They claimed to fix it. It was not fixed.

    Two weeks ago a RANDOM-ASS card on a TOTALLY NEW AND SEPARATE ACCOUNT arrived as a “replacement” for a card they claimed I already own. Just me. Not my husband. I have NEVER had an account with BofA (I worked there. I know better.) and GOD KNOWS they keep insisting I’m not on my husband’s account. Now I”m trying to figure out if I”m an identity theft victim but customer service won’t talk to me.

    We are cashing out our points (which, of course, we can’t do online and they won’t let us do on the phone because of spurious reasons X, Y, and Z) and DUMPING this card, rewards or no rewards. I’m SO FURIOUS at BofA, and I’m equally furious at MBNA for being bought by them.

  46. holterbarbour says:

    I had been an MBNA customer for about 13 years, and had a nice high credit limit (upper 20k’s), and all sorts of freebie promo benefits for L.L. Bean. I loved it. Then BoA bought them out, and it all went to hell. The phone service was PayPal-quality abysmal, they tricked out the website and made logging into my account much too complicated, and then the kicker, they added that $1.50 charge- and would only waive it if I mailed them a letter. They won’t waive it for old customers over the phone. How sad.

    I hope LL Bean switches their branded card to another company.

  47. FLConsumer says:

    My MBNA card was also acquired by BoA with similarly unfavourable terms. Other than 1-2 recurring monthly charges, I wasn’t using it nor carrying a balance on it anyway. I’ve always paid my balances in full, so these changes don’t affect me, but I still don’t plan on using it either. BoA probably doesn’t want my business anyway.

  48. LAGirl says:

    am i missing something here? aren’t you always charged a finance charge if you carry a balance? it does say if you pay your balance in full, there is no charge.

    i agree, on principal, that this is a greedy change in policy. but if your balance is low enough that the $1.50 would kick in, vs. the calculated percentage rate, the difference would be pretty minimal, right?

    as for the letter, saying things like ‘Awww, poor you’ and ‘on a more personal note, kiss my a$$’ is just childish. if you want to be taken seriously, you need to talk like a grown-up.

  49. MoCo says:

    Does this minimum apply to BoA credit cards that they issue to illegal aliens?

  50. Asherah says:

    Although I already knew many of the tactics used by the consumer lending industry to screw with their cardholders, this interview was still pretty informative, I would recommend it to everyone…

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=91569

  51. Hitchcock says:

    What hit me, and hit me hard when BOA took over my MBNA card, was they moved up my due date with no notice. Essentially my bill was due 1 week earlier than normal, I didn’t catch it in time, and because of that my payment got to them late. Suddenly my interest skyrocketed and they charged me a late fee.

    I called them, threatened to transfer my balance to another card and close the BOA account, and they apologized, credited back the late fee, and reset my interest rate to where it had been.

    But it was a real sneaky thing to do, to change the due date which had remained essentially the same for the last 3 years, with no special notice.

  52. Asherah says:

    @Hitchcock: This is a critical tactic that credit card companies due intentionally. They are banking on the fact that long-time cardholders who have always had the same due date (and probably auto pay via online banking), don’t scrutinize their bills and look for new dates. That way, they get the $39+ late fee. Often, they will move the date just one or two days to do so.

  53. rachmanut says:

    @WillScarlett and @maddypilar:

    I believe that rejecting the charge does not mean canceling the card. The language in the letter isn’t clear, but this is a “term you may reject” which means if you catch the fine print you’re all good, as if no change happened, nothing to see here, move along. Cf. Chase’s change in terms a few months back. Other types of terms (I’m not exactly clear what) are not terms you may reject and if you reject them your card gets canceled. Ben&Meghann, maybe you can confirm this?

    I got this notice too but have simply decided to cancel my card. It was a Linux Fund card, which was supposed to make money for some free software fund or something but I mostly had it because of the cute penguin. Linux Fund has since folded so this seems like a good time to get out, plus I have too many cards anyway.

  54. Ass_Cobra says:

    I had a pretty exciting incident with the whole MBNA / BOA merger which led me to basically bludgeon my BOA banker into submission.

    I would set up my payments for 8-12 months in advance, higher than the monthly minimum and generally about what I would use on the card. This way I keep the balance near zero, if I make a large purchase on it (to get additional protections, etc.) I would generally make a supplemental payment. The bottom line is that I am a space case, and if I don’t set the payments up in advance like that there’s fair to even odds that I’ll remember the day after my payment due date to make the payment.

    Anyway, BOA buys MBNA (which had my Credit Card originally) I don’t use the card much, I don’t really open mail and I don’t check on-line well because I don’t use the card much. Final I am trying to use the card and it gets rejected. They swipe it again, declined. I get the CS rep on the phone, she informs me that my card has been suspended for non-payment.

    I ask her to check that again, and she does, informing me that I have missed two consecutive payments. Rather than stand there and argue, I figure I’ll just use my other card and get it resolved when I get home.

    I go home, I attempt to pull up my payment history on-line and am re-directed to a new website. I try and log-in per normal, but have to go through some set-up process. Fine, done. No problems. Then I get to my payment history, and there is nothing. Zero-zilch zip.

    I get on the phone with the CSR and inform her that I don’t have a payment history available to me on the website and my statements aren’t showing any payments and now that I look at it my bank account isn’t showing any debits to MBNA recently. She then explains to me that when they merged, there was a change in the website used so that must be the problem. Well that does seem plausible, but how is it my problem? Why couldn’t they transfer over my scheduled payments? Well I have to set up a payment account on the new website. Okay, the payments were coming from a BofA account, wouldn’t that be a pretty close together set of dots for them to connect? She informs me that if I had logged in, I would have been re-directed to the new website and could have set up my payments there. T

    his completely misses the point of fact that I schedule the payments that far in advance so that I have to interact with the site as little as possible. This goes on for a few minutes and I ask her to refund the late fees and put my interest rate back to less than terminal deadbeat levels. She informs me politely that it’s not possible, since I did miss two payments. I get it escalated, same story.

    I finally have to go to my personal banker at BOA and threaten him with a complete removal of all my current business and all my future business save for a single checking account, that will have a couple of hundred bucks in it so that I can use their ATMs and branches when I’m traveling (they are almost everywhere). He gets on the phone, MBNA (now BOA) backs down and I’ve gotten my $78 + interest (@27% mind you) back. Unfortunately I’ve had to spend upwards of 3 hours plus one pretty confrontational trip to the bank to get it resolved. I’m still actually fairly pissed about the whole ordeal. I can’t understand why companies botch the acquisition of other companies so much. Especially in banking and cellualar where the whole point is to get customers.

  55. arelys521 says:

    I love complaint letters as much as the next guy (mainly because I’m writing them, not reading them), but the more I read letters posted on Consumerist, the more I realize why those letters get ignored so frequently: who’s going to take the time to read a really long, poorly written, hostile letter? All these bad, icky letters are clogging up the system for the rest of us!

    A well-written complaint letter should:

    1) Start with a compliment or kind words towards the company to show prior loyalty
    2) Enter into a short, concise complaint in the second paragraph
    3) Offer a potential solution and the reason why a solution would be worth the company’s time in the third (and final!) paragraph

    What company is going to want to help out a customer who either isn’t going to appreciate the help or is going to stop working with the company anyway?

  56. holocron says:

    So, if I have a balance of $0.00 and I do not send in a payment of $0.00, am I charged a min finance charge of $1.50?

  57. ella says:

    write to them at the address in the letter and state that you reject the proposed changes (only by mail and by may 1) and you don’t have to pay the new fees. Then transfer your balance somewhere else! I did. They suck. Yes, a balance of zero would still cost you $1.50. UNLESS you write the letter and tell them to go screw.

  58. Asherah says:

    No, a balance of zero would not, by the terms stated in the agreement, cost you $1.50, monthly. Look at the second to last sentence under Minimum Finance Charge: “You may avoid a minimum finance charge by paying your new balance total in full each month.”

    If you don’t carry a balance over, you aren’t going to be hit with it.

    (I’m not defending it, just explaining what it states.)

  59. tvaughn05 says:

    @arelys521.

    I’ve found from personal experience that bullets get the companies attention. :)

  60. saram says:

    @RowdyRoddyPiper:

    I’m sorry, but going in to a banking center and assaulting your personal banker is not the best way to handle the situation. Did you notice that the personal banker had to call the credit card department to take care of it while you sat there? Bankers inside the physical branch don’t have any access to your credit cards. The reason that you got it handled at this time is that most likely, your PB was a bit more polite than you were with whomever was unlucky enough to answer the phone. Also, how was the bank supposed to communicate with you about all of the steps of the merger? You don’t open your mail or check your statements online . . . were you expecting a personal phone call from the bank to notify you of all of the changes? Did you want us to hold your hand as well?

  61. tcp100 says:

    I’m really concerned that a lot of folks here are having some reading comprehension issues and really getting their blood pressure up over something that’s not a big deal. I got this same letter on an MBNA account I’ve had for over 10 years, with a $35,000 credit limit. No way I’m closing it.. But regardless..

    NO, you will not be charged in months that you have a zero balance. What in the world has made anyone think this? Check out the words “More than zero.”

    Here’s how this works..

    If your finance charges (since you’ve paid off all charges in the allotted grace period and your balance subject to finance charge is zero) are $0, you will pay $0 in finance charges.

    If you charged a ham sandwich at the deli and decided to wait 60 days to pay it off, and your finance charges were $0.43, you’ll pay $1.50 in finance charges.

    If you bought a wicked sweet plasma for $6000 and paid only your $24 minimum payment on it or something – and your finance charges are $73, you’ll pay $73 in finance charges.

    I understand there’s a lot of ire towards BOA (oh, and to the odd fella up there with his strange payment-in-advance scheme — not much sympathy for you, that’s just weird.) but this really doesn’t sound like a big deal.

    Oh, I know, its the PRINCIPLE of the thing, but to really make it affect you any worse than a couple of dropped nickels, I think it’d have to be a pretty rare case. Can someone please explain to me how/when/where this could end up costing you that much, unless you decided to only make a partial payment on a $8 balance or something – which isn’t even possible?

    On a second note – to the folks who complain about changing due dates.. Yeah, it’s shady, and it happened to me.. But guess what, you have to read your statements. C’mon, BoA may be evil, but you have to be a little responsible, too.

  62. Jamie Beckland says:

    @Mr. Gunn:

    Huh? I am not sure what you mean. I was simply stating that I am relatively happy with the deal that I have on this card. I am not happy about this change, and would be willing to switch to a different card, but only if it’s as good or better of a deal for me. I don’t have any specific loyalty to BoA; they have just offered me the best deal – what I described are the ACTUAL terms on my account currently. If anyone knows of a better deal, please let me know.

  63. hvr says:

    Has any ex-MBNA, new BofA, customer had the problem that when your account/routing number was being switched over that an automatic online payment didn’t go through, causing you to receive a late payment ding without knowing it until you realized that a payment was not made? If so, let me know, as we are looking for a representative for a class action. hvr@asmlawyers.com