Tuesday, September 18, 2007

With friends like Bank of America

I've been selected as a valuable and trusted customer! Hooray!
Bank of America will loan me up to $30,000.

Just look at that esitmated monthly payment schedule, based upon 8.99% APR (which I sould mention is 2% higher than my credit card). Wait, what does it say in the fine print there? "All payment amounts and terms are estimates based on an APR of 8.99%. Yours may be higher. We will set your initial APR between 8.99% and 21.99% based on creditworthiness."

Oh, well 8.99% and 21.99%, that's practically the same thing, right? That sounds ok... wait, what does it say in the fine print just below that? "We reserve the right to change your APR, fees, or other credit terms at our discretion."
Hmmmm... well, that sounds reasonable. Contract terms should really only apply to private citizens and never to billion dollar businesses.

What does that say under there? "Additionally, if you fail to pay any minimum monthly payment by its Payment Due Date, we may increase your APR up to a Default APR of 27.99%"
That sounds *awesome*. I could use some more accountability in my life.

In a final note, this loan is called The Clean Sweep. Isn't that adorable? It is supposed to "Help sweep your debts away." It is like the cute little bunny in Cinderella. Except that instead of helping you make a beautiful ball gown, it eats all your money. And then craps it in your lap.

As an interesting caution to my readers, who are no doubt super-savvy with their money, (yes even the Hollywood Erotic Boutique Google searchers- 2 more over the weekend) always read every single scrap of paper that you receive from your credit card company. Every word on everything.
Credit card companies are allowed to change any terms of your account without your permission as long as they notify you. This includes tiny fine print at the end or even on the reverse of your bill. Recently BOA attempted to raise my interest rate by 8% and add on a yearly fee.
While these companies don't have to ask for permission, they are required to let you opt out, in writing, of changes to your contract. Usually you have a few months to send in a letter rejecting the new terms.

I was going to upload a cute scan of the interesting portions of the offer, but blogger is sabotaging me again.

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