The Better Business Bureau and Senator Charles Schumer are warning the public to be skeptical of any calls promising to lower your credit card interest rate. While nowhere near at the public annoyance level of the recent car warranty robocaller scourge, they’re still out there, automatically dialing people and promising to lower your rate for a hefty up-front fee. The only problem is, they can’t do anything you can’t do on your own, and unless you’re crazy you’re probably not going to charge yourself a thousand bucks for the service.
As you may expect from phone spam, the techniques used are intentionally misleading:
[The credit card] robocalls generally begin with recorded messages that include statements like: “There are no problems currently with your account, however it is urgent that you contact us concerning your eligibility for lowering your interest rates to as little as 6 point 9 per cent.” or, “This is our final attempt to reach you since you’ve not responded to our other calls to discuss your credit card debt.” The automated message invariably does not include the name of the company, but may claim to be with Card Services or Card Holder Services. Complainants note to BBB that they now believe the calls were designed to deceive them into thinking their credit card company was contacting them.
After the initial recorded message, consumers must dial another number to be connected to a live person. The live “operator” usually starts the sales pitch by asking for the consumer’s credit card number and whether the consumer is interested in lowering their interest rates. From there, callers begin closing the sale, asking if the consumer is willing to pay ñ usually from $700 to $1,000 – to have their firm contact the credit card company and negotiate lower rates.
If you want your interest rate reduced, you can do the same thing the robocallers do: call the number on your card and ask to speak to a CSR, then ask about lowering your rate.