08 March 2009

Bail Me Out, Please.

It's been a very long time since I have written anything of substance. Some may argue that I've never written something of substance in the first place. That would put me in the company of many who have blogs.

I have thought about several topics I would like to sound off about. Most of what I would have to say is either sarcastic or humorous only to those few who have a really twisted sense of humor. Examples? Newsflash! President Obama is black. Yeah, I know it's not politically correct to say this, but I am sick to death of his being a black man being pointed out. I want to say things like, "If the object is equality despite race, ethnicity or creed.... why do you keep telling me the man's race?!" I also want to say, "I understand that the man is black, do you understand what his politics are going to do to this nation?" That's the part I am interested in, not his skin color.

I got a letter in the mail from Capital One. They decided that they needed to increase my interest rate to nearly 30%. I have worked so hard to rebuild my credit. I had been injured on the job and inherited two kids to raise at almost the same time. Life events like that make it difficult to pay your bills and so 15 years ago my credit tanked. Anyway, because I have worked so hard to rebuild my credit, I called to ask them (Capital One) if this had been some sort of mistake. Didn't I pay my bills regularly? Had I been behind on a payment? Did someone steal my identity? I was told by the nice woman with the heavy foreign accent that it was simply a business decision Capital One has made. With that I told her to close my account. We had to discuss that for several minutes. She didn't have a script to read to me in order to answer the questions I had regarding that business decision.

Folks, Capital One is not the only company doing this. My CPA said that she had heard this would be happening. If you didn't have stellar credit before, I guarantee you will receive similar letters. They are hoping, of course, that you will not read them or that you don't mind a 23% increase in your interest rate. I have had similar rate increases with other cards and will be closing them too. It's just as well, I can live without them. It does make me wonder if President Obama has a script to answer this:

"I have been paying my mortgage for the last 4 years, I pay it on time every month. I pay my credit card bills. My credit rating, which had been steadily improving, is now in the toilet because those who have extended me credit are deciding to take the bailout money you are giving to them and charge me ridiculous interest rates. I refuse to accept these astronomical interest rates so I am closing my accounts. Closing accounts this way reflects negatively on your credit report. Mr. Obama, the very same irresponsible jerks who are taking the government funds in one hand, have their other hand on a computer keyboard and are sending information to the credit reporting bureaus about how they are closing my accounts because I refused their terms. So, not only can't they manage their businesses, not only do they thumb their noses at you and ride their corporate jets to posh resorts with government money... they are now making my life miserable for being a responsible debtor. My question? President Obama, please tell me who is going to reward me for being responsible? Actually sir, I don't want to be bailed out, but who is going to protect me because I am being responsible? Is there a new government program for that?"

All this talk about President Obama reminds me of some insight I had into my besetting sins. I don't care for Obama's politics but I respect the office that he holds. I was talking with a young woman who wants to get into some sort of law enforcement career and we talked about my jobs in public safety. I found myself telling her that if I had received any encouragement as a young woman, I know I would have tried to work for the Secret Service. She asked me why and I told her I thought I would be good at it because even though I don't care for our current Commander in Chief's politics, there is no doubt in my mind that I would throw myself in front of a gunman for him right this minute. OK, maybe not throw myself because I am old and fat and not that physically fit. However, I am serious. I would protect POTUS with my life. No hesitation. And no, I don't think that the inclination to do that is sinful. But here's what I realized. I have the same mentality about my Savior.

It is easier to think about jumping in front of a bullet than actually denying myself the things that I think I want or need. Who am I kidding? How absolutely prideful and arrogant and upside down is that? I would take a bullet for Jesus?? Like, He would need me to intercede for Him in this manner? I am telling you, it was an "'Oh!' face moment" for me when I realized how that backward notion had come into my head. I thought I was pretty together but I had managed to negate the wonder of the gospel- that the Son of God would die for me. Me- the sinful one with nothing of value to offer Him. Almighty God threw himself in front of a bullet meant for me, one with my name on it and one I fully deserved. Not only that but, because He did, I get to go into the Oval Office of the Universe and talk with the Father while He holds the fabric of everything there is and will ever be together.

I could keep rambling, but that's all for now. I have to work in the morning.

Col 3:1-4
1 If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.
3 For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
4 When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.
(NAS)

3 comments:

Capital One Customer Service said...

Hi-

I work in Capital One's customer service group, and I just wanted a chance to explain the change you’re referencing in your post.

The 29.4% APR that was referenced in your letter is Capital One’s penalty default rate, which is the rate your APR goes to if you pay late two times in a 12-month period. If you do pay late twice and your rate increases to 29.4%, you will automatically go back to your old rate if you make 12 payments in a row on time. There may or may not be another rate referenced in your letter that defines the actual purchase rate increase. I am sorry for the confusion and hope this helps further explain the issue.

Please feel free to contact me at executivecustomerservice@capitalone.com if you have any additonal questions about your account and/or any terms that may be changing.

Kathy

ostrakinos said...

Good post.

We would all be in prison if we handled our personal finances the way our so-called leaders handle the money they take from us. It is criminal. And we the people bear blame in electing such fools in the first place.

As to credit card company interest rates, I know some loan sharks who charge less than what the credit-crack dealers demand. The only benefit in using them instead of "Big Louie" is that they won't break your legs in three places.

Now to be fair, we the general public know what we're getting into (as you mentioned as well) when we use an unsecured loan in the form of plastic addiction, but the punitive usury and fees on top of fees make it virtually impossible to get back on track.

And the fact that AFTER you go souther than south you can have almost 60% of your monster bill reduced in a settlement speaks volumes.

It is criminal what credit card companies do in this regard and it should be made illegal. And, we, the ones who borrow and don't pay back for whatever reason, should remember what the industry grinds out for us if we fail.

Carla said...

Capital One Customer Service said...

The 29.4% APR that was referenced in your letter is Capital One’s penalty default rate, which is the rate your APR goes to if you pay late two times in a 12-month period.


I found this statement interesting. This particular commenter (whether a real rep of Capital One or not, it's impossible to know for sure) has clearly implied that the poster has been late on at least 2 payments, thereby suffering the penalty of the increased interest rate.

Now, from where I sit, this is revealing personal, confidential information about a cardholder's account, to the general public. Is it not? Even if the commenter was stating "general policy" which is public info, the commenter was applying general policy to a specific cardholder by directly commenting on this issue. Would this not somehow violate the privacy of the cardholder?

Frankly, if this IS a customer svc. rep from Cap One, I think she ought to be reprimanded at the very least. It's not her place to reveal this kind of information whether it's true or not, nor is it her place to even IMPLY that this particular cardholder is late on her payments. What if she's NOT late on her payments? Did she not say in her post that she already called and inquired about this, and the she is NOT late in her payments? Does this comment not imply that this cardholder is a credit risk, by applying general policy of late payment interest increase to THIS particular cardholder? THAT is confidential information!

I can say this, if I were in the position of considering a Capital One card, after reading this comment it would sure it up for me that this is not the company to go with. Who knows what other confidential information one of their customer svc. reps might disclose publicly this way? I can also say, that if this were my blog, my comment, and my CC account, I'd be doing some serious inquiries about the legal ramifications of this type of revealed information.