USAA is like a unicorn in a pack of walruses: a financial services company that truly cares about its customers and really helps them out. Not as some kind of lucky exception, but as a matter of policy. Reader “Mary Marsala With Fries'” story, about how USAA opened up several cans of whoop-ass on an Enterprise facility that was trying to screw her over on charges, is yet further proof.
Reader Jason just finished paying off his 0% Best Buy/HSBC credit card, or so he thought, because this devilish card just sucker-punched him with a load of hidden fees. He did some research and found out he was entered into a program that makes him pay for “debt cancellation,” something Best Buy never discussed with him. He also discovered that there are many other people who feel tricked into joining this strange program. To make matters worse, HSBC, the card issuing bank, is giving Jason the runaround about reversing the fees. Jason’s letter, inside…
Reader Tim scanned a letter he got from Bank of America announcing that the bank and retailer L.L. Bean were breaking up.
Tammy’s been trying to get a new Citibank card to replace her expired one since March. For two months Citibank has lied, stalled, and generally screwed around with her access to her money. For two months, a a series of increasingly senior people have told her her card is on the way. They even told her they’d overnight it, twice. Read her story,
Nationally syndicated personal finance columnist Michelle Singletary thinks you’re a sucker for using your credit cards, even if you pay off your bills in full each month.
Reader Tim says that Banana Republic sent him a Visa after he opted out of the program and that the card’s mailer was misleading (it looked like a replacement for his regular Banana Republic card, not a new “optional” Visa account) and didn’t disclose important details… like the card’s interest rate.
Reader Maegan wrote Banana Republic to let them know that their credit card website was buggy and annoying to use. She got back a canned response that halfheartedly apologized for the state of their website and recommended that she use another service to pay her bill.
If a gas pump ever accidentally charges you $502.55 for 17 gallons of gas, you’d expect to be able to quickly and easily challenge that charge with your credit card. Unfortunately for James Maddux of Collinsville, OK, it wasn’t that simple.
As loyal readers already know, Apple doesn’t accept cash for the iPhone — a policy they say is designed to discourage resellers from getting their grubby little hands on the precious cellphone. This policy does have a tendency to backfire every now and then when a legitimate customer wants to purchase an iPhone with cash. Meet Alex Palen– he was refused an iPhone because he doesn’t have a credit or debit card and was escorted from the store when he asked another customer to accept cash in exchange for charging the phone to their card.
They tell us if we can get someone to sign up, and be approved, that we have guaranteed that that customer will shop at our store, on average, three times more often than they would have if they didn’t have a card with our store’s name on it.
You know when you buy tickets at Movietickets.com or Fandango and at that end that annoying popup window makes a noise and asks you if you want to save $10 on your next purchase? Yeah, don’t enter your email address. In the fine print it tells you that doing so…
Longtime Consumerist reader TBT read the fine print for a credit card she recently opened with Bank of America, and discovered that buried in pages 13 and 14 is a section that limits your right to request a chargeback to your home state or within 100 miles of your home address, and only for purchases over $50. He found this shocking, but, actually, this is a limitation provided by the Fair Credit Billing Act. If you dislike it, here’s a great post of ours on writing effective letters to Congress.
It’s evident the pendulum swung too far in terms of giving away too much credit, but now it seems to be swinging back in the opposite direction just as hard, with banks getting too tightfisted, even when it doesn’t make sense. For instance, the APR on James’s BoA credit card jumped from 9.32% to 13.99%, and shortly after he called to see about getting it back, they closed all three of his credit cards. One was a Gold account with a lifetime APR of 7.99%, the other had a 1.99% APR. Just last month, he received an offer to transfer $15,000 to the 1.99% card. Obviously at least one department in Bank of America thinks he’s a good credit risk. It appears some other expressionless faces of the massive dodecahedron that is the entity called Bank of America disagreed.
The ChargeBackBureau sells merchants a blacklist with names of customers who have done chargebacks. Merchants are supposed to be able to access its lists and deny transactions to customers if they see they’re chargeback-prone. When a consumer is put on the list, they get sent an email warning them they’re “going to have trouble purchasing goods or services on the Internet in the future.” ChargeBackBureua’s headquarters are conveniently located in Panama, which is convenient for its American clients, as such databases are illegal in the US. Chargebacks are an important tool for consumers to fight back against merchants who won’t give you what you paid for. Here’s how to do one. If a merchant won’t do business with you because you stood up for your rights before, then you shouldn’t do business with them either.