No. of Recommendations: 60
I've had it with the credit card industry. The scum of the earth First USA continues to get away with its atrocities, unregulated. Unfortunately, the rest of the industry is watching and ultimately following.

It's time now to reign them in. I want ten new regulations on the conduct of credit card companies. It will be our Bill of Rights.

So reply to this message with your suggestions. In a week or so, I will compile them and issue polls to decide which suggestions have the most merit, which need more debate, and which to leave out.

I'll start with some of my suggestions:

THE CREDITOR MAY NOT BAIT AND SWITCH

The consumer has the right to keep the original credit terms. If a credit card company subsequently wants to raise interest rates, the balance under the previous rate remains under the previous rate until paid. New charges create a separate balance that is charged a higher rate. Customer payments are applied first to the minimum payment due on the higher APR balance, then to the lower APR balance.

[This seems to be all the rage. Every card issuer is abusing this and it's time to stop it.]

THE CREDITOR MUST GIVE CLEAR NOTICE

Notices sent to consumers must be sent in an envelope separate of any advertising or other obfuscating material. The envelope must be clearly marked "IMPORTANT CHANGE OF CREDIT TERMS NOTICE ENCLOSED." The notice is limited to information detailing and explaining the change of terms.

[Can't hide the notice in a sidebar for a throw-away ad enclosed with your bill. Hear that, First USA?]

NO MORE LATE FEE GAMES

Timliness in payment in determining late fees or account delinquencies are calculated by the date of the postmark or electronic funds transmission, not on when the bank received the funds. Any ambiguity due to a missing or illegible postmark will be decided in favor of the consumer. If the funds transfer is not subsequently honored by the customer's bank, then a late fee may apply.

[A law like this would have prevented the First USA debacle last summer. First USA is being sued by investors alleging that they intentionally posted payments late in order to collect late fees, thus falsely propping up their earnings. Evidence on First Scams seems to confirm this.]

CREDIT LIMIT CHANGES

If the creditor desires to decrease a credit limit, it must give 30 days notice before affecting the change.

[Hey MBNA, I wrote this just for you.]

NO REAPPROVAL REQUIRED

Creditors may not change the terms of an agreement based on subsequent information appearing in credit reports.

[Another bait and switch scam. Give you a $10,000 credit line and then when you use half, run the credit report and jack up the rate or lower the limit. Puh-leeze.]

SIMPLER MATH, PLEASE

Creditors must calculate finance charges based on the activity within a single billing cycle using a formula or algorithm demonstrated accessible to 85% of High School graduates.

[Enough of this two-cycle double backflip compound complex method of figuring out how much my finance charge is. It's so difficult, MS Money and Quicken don't even try to do it anymore.]

DON'T HIDE MY CREDIT WORTHINESS

Creditors who rely on credit bureau reports should report all the information about their accountholders, including balance, credit limit, terms, and timeliness of payments.

[If I'm a good payer, tell the credit bureau.]

FEES FOR CASH TRANSACTIONS

No fees for cash or cash-like transactions are permitted unless individually acknowledged electronically or in writing at the time of the cash advance.

[No more tricking your customer into fees by sending them checks.]

ALL COMPLAINTS SERIAL NUMBERED

All complaints or disputes received by a credit card issuer are to be assigned a serial number which is communicated back to the consumer. The creditor must maintain a adequate system of tracking the complaints and disputes, the serial numbers, the status of the investigation, the disposition, and the communication of the results to the customer.

[No more "I can't find any record of your dispute and I can't accept it now because it's over 60 days" stories.]

That's all I can think of right now. Please add your suggestions. Maybe we can get some laws passed in the next congress.

Robb
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