Jason was stuck with a massive electric bill due to a meter-reading snafu and worked out a payment plan with the company. Now the utility has disregarded the plan, rendering Jason’s automatic payments insufficient, and tacked on finance charges. He has no idea how to maneuver out of this debt hell and wants some advice.
American Express hit Mike with a finance charge because his Blue card had a balance. A negative balance. Incredulous, Mike called and said, “so you dinged me for carrying a balance and not making a payment, even though it was a negative balance?,” to which AmEx replied, “Right, even negative balances.”
A Consumerist reader was surprised to find that Citibank had applied a finance charge on a zero balance account. She did what every good Consumerist should do: prepared her evidence, jumped quickly ahead to a live person on the Customer Service side, and resolved the issue. Here’s what happened:
Bad Consumer Smith finally paid off her American Express Optima card after 14 years, but couldn’t believe that Amex tacked on a $0.19 finance charge to her last bill. Smith summoned her lesser angels to work out a fitting response. Here’s what she came up with:
I sent AmEx two checks for a penny each, one for two cents, two for three cents, one for four cents, and one for a nickel.
- Last week Chase Card Services announced a few changes in its credit card services. Most importantly, they decided to end double-cycle billing, which calculates interest over a two-month period and can result in higher finance charges.
They point out that while it’s a consumer friendly move, it came a week before “Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., and the Senate Banking Committee begins its hearings on credit card practices (the hearings begin tomorrow).” Double-cycle billing is bad. —MEGHANN MARCO