Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Buy Now, Pay Later

When I am screwed over, I tend to have a long memory. That is why to this day there are certain companies I will never do business with again, even if they are under new management.

I remember back in the 1960's the first 'revolving credit cards came out, called Master Card. The banks would just mail them out to everybody, and nobody would have to even apply for credit. As a kid I thought this was an interesting idea, free money. Of course we all know there is no free money, somebody always pays in the end. The first time I ever applied for a credit card was at Sears. I needed a new television, and I liked one they had at the Sears store. After filling out all the information I went up to the counter, where a stuffy old guy looked it over. I was summarily advised that I wasn't qualified for a precious Sears Card. I had a job, I owned a house, and I had never not paid a debt, but Sears decided I was too much of a risk because I was twenty five years old. As a result I have never answered the repeated pleas by mail, of Sears, for me to open an account with them. In fact, I have also declined opening a Discovery Card account because that was originally a Sears product.

What I did, was to go to the First National Bank of Chicago and apply for a Visa Card, and they gave it to me no problem. Over the years the name on the card has changed from First National Bank, to simply First Card, to Bank One, and finally to Chase. Six months ago I noticed that the interest rate on the card I had carried for over thirty years, had jumped to twenty one percent, and I called them. The young woman at Chase informed me that not only would she not reduce the interest, but that I was lying and I had only had this card for ten years, and that I was obviously some kind of ne'er-do-well trying to scam her.

So today, after paying off the card, I called to cancel the account. Suddenly I was their most valuable customer. There was nothing they wouldn't do for me. "Sir, you have such a good credit history with us. I will give you a much lower rate and triple reward credits. Please don't cancel." When I refused all offers the tone changed, "Sir, if you cancel I cannot stop the consequences. If Satan should rise up from Hell and destroy your credit rating, we cannot stop him.". As I sit here putting my old credit card of thirty three years, through the shredder, I can only wonder. Why would Chase Bank think they can scare me when even the nuns at St. George Catholic School, couldn't?


  1. At least you got a person who spoke english (I assume). Corporate America could care less about anything except the bottom line...PROFIT. How else could they give their CEO's a multi-million dollar bonus. Look at all the problems in this country and you can trace most of them back to greedy businesses. Of course the worst of them are oil, pharmaceuticals and health care. Things that none of us can get along without. Like it or not, government regulations seemed to have worked when we had them.

  2. WHAT!!! I hope you're kidding about the "..Satan rise up from Hell..." response from the Chase employee. If not, I hope you got their name and reported that behavior. That is totally unacceptable. Since when are banks using scare tactics? I am shocked.

  3. Of course Russell, I would never, ever make something up or exaggerate just for the comedic effect.

    But he was trying to intimidate me about my credit record.

  4. I cut up my credit cards a long time ago. If I don't have the money to buy something, I won't buy it. Now debit cards are great because you can only spend what you have in your checking account.

    The real problem is that we are such a materialistic society and our economy seems to be run on consumerism. That is why people get in debt.

    Congratulations, Alan.