Friday, April 29, 2011

A few random thoughts, #1

Bank of America - Why the hell are they still in business instead of being crippled by a massive consumer boycott driven by sheer disgust? - has announced that it's "penalty rate" on its credit cards, that being the rate they can hit you with if you are late shelling out the bucks, may be as high as 29.99%. And they're not even the highest: HSBC's penalty rate could reach 31.99%.

My gosh, doesn't the word usury have a meaning any more? Seriously, has it been excised from the dictionary? I mean, it's still there in mine but is it out of date? Is there no rate that is considered too high? No rate so high that it shocks the conscience?

Now, they say the rate would only be applied to future purchases, not old ones - but while I can't state this as fact not having seen the actual "agreement" (That's another great term, like this is supposed to be something the terms of which you actually sat down and negotiated with the bank.) but what do you want to bet that it says that future payments will be applied to old balances first, so that any new purchases will sit there gathering that 30% interest - 30% interest - the whole time?

Oh, but don't ever forget the most important thing: If you get hit with a 32% interest rate, it's all your fault.
To avoid those penalty interest rates, credit card users simply need to make payments on time, advises [Greg] McBride[, a senior financial analyst with].

Says McBride: "People complain about the penalty interest like they complain about speeding tickets. If you don't want the ticket, then don't speed."
And Howard Dworkin, founder of Consolidated Credit Counseling Service, offers this sage advice:
"The best option is to use cash. If you don't have the money, don't buy. This way, you don't have to worry about what credit card companies do, and you'll never accrue credit card debt."
Yep, it's your fault. Because if you can't pay cash, you don't buy it. (I wonder if Mr. Dworkin owns a house or a car. Or ever uses a credit card, for that matter.) Because it's all your fault, you spendthrift slacker. After all, we all know that people don't fall behind on their bills because they get sick or lose their jobs, oh no - it's because they just have no self-control. That's what we are to believe.

One other thing: Precisely because most people who fall behind on their bills do indeed do so because of real-life problems, it means that these unconscionable rates are most likely to be imposed on the people least able to pay them, trapping them in a cycle of economic serfdom.

Even so, don't you peons dare try to blame corporate greed. Your masters have told you otherwise and you must remember that just like every other assault coming from The Free Market (pbui), it's all your fault.

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