I have had an Advanta Credit Card for a little over a year now. My interest rate prior to a few days ago was 8%. My credit rating is very good, and I have always made my payments on time. As I was looking over my bill for September I noticed a fee of $75 dollars. A few clicks later I found that my interest rate had been raised to 20%.
I immediately called customer service. The woman I spoke with claimed Advanta had sent a letter informing me about the change in my rate. I told her I never received a letter and wanted to know why my rate had changed. She said she was unable to tell me about the specifics but kept mentioning the economy
So because other people screwed up I am being punished for their mistakes? I informed her that if she did not return my interest rate to 8% I would be writing a letter to http://www.consumerist.com. She said she could not help me and hung up on me. Not only are they getting more money out of me but they are also hanging up on me!
I then sent an email to customer service asking them for the specific reason my rate was change. If they did not I would write a letter to http://www.consumerist.com. Well the next day I recieve a personal phone call from customer service. The woman on the line gave me the same run around. She could not tell me why it was raised except the fact that the economy is bad.
I informed her that my other credit card rates had not been changed. Her answer to that was, “Advanta is much more conservative and 20% is the best rate we can offer you.” I told her, “You did not offer it to me, you changed it without notification or reason.” I told her I will be writing a letter to http://www.consumerist.com. I thanked her for her time and ended the call.
Why am I being punished for taking responsiblity for my finances?
Joe, you’re not being punished, you’re just being taken advantage of because Advanta wants/needs more money. We wish threatening to write to Consumerist held more power over CSRs everywhere, but the truth is, most companies don’t care that much. We’re glad you told us so that we can warn others, but you need to try a different strategy if you want to get back to a decent rate.
To begin with, you should read the details of your credit card agreement to find out your options for disputing the rate increase. In most cases, once you’ve been notified, you will have to let the company know you reject the increase within a certain number of days (e.g., 30). At that point you should not charge anything else to the card, and you should be able to pay off your existing at the earlier rate.
If, however, you’ve used the card since being notified of the rate increase, Advanta may take that as your agreement to abide by the new rate. Since you say you never received the notice, you may be able to negotiate a new notification agreement deadline if you contact Advanta and explain that you weren’t notified.
You can also call Advanta and tell them you want to cancel your card. They may be willing to renegotiate down to a lower rate to keep you as a customer.
However, your best bet may be to start looking around for another card that can match your 8% rate at Advanta and then transfer the balance over and close the account. Check out Billshrink to see what offers are currently out there that you might qualify for. Even if you can’t find another 8% card out there, taking your business away from Advanta to another company for even a moderately lower rate will probably be worth it to you, both financially and for the principle of the matter.