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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Amazon Chase--Thanks for Nothing

What if everyone practiced universal defaultImage via WikipediaThe story is the same--a couple of years ago, I got what looked like a great balance transfer offer from Amazon Chase. Plus I would earn points for Amazon purchases--a readaholic's dream.

Except, you guessed it, the Amazon Chase card has one of those deadly universal default clauses. The good news is that I haven't had a late payment on this card since before January--probably long before that. I have called them every month asking them to lower my interest rate. It has been as high as 29% and has been hovering at a usurious 27% for months now.

Last week, like every month, I called them. They always start the call, "How may I help you today, Ms. Poorhouse?" I always reply, "You can lower my interest rate, please." Every month they say there is nothing they can do. Last week, I said I was in trouble and I couldn't afford to pay this rate. The excessively cheerful representative said she would transfer me to another department to work out a payment plan. Oh, but sorry, says the automated attendant, that department is closed. I must call back during business hours....from cubeville.

From my experience with Bank of America, I'm guessing a payment plan means another black mark on my credit report and closing the account. I don't charge anything on this account, but closing it will change my debt to credit limit ratio, which will further damage my credit rating.

But, (and this assumes that they will offer me a reduced rate for a payment plan), it's either that or continue to pay 27 percent. Twenty seven. Sigh.

So I call back today. "How may I help you today, Ms. Poorhouse?" "You can lower my interest rate, please." The slightly less chirpy representative tells me they cannot review my rate until November.

Actually, since writing the above, I looked at this again. I have a little credit left on some lower rate cards, so I could transfer about half of my balance to them. At my current accelerated payment rate, I could pay off the balance in three months. So maybe I'll do that instead of setting up a payment plan.

And I'll call back in November. "How may I help you Ms. Poorhouse?" "Lower my rate please.."

You know I'm really trying to pay what I owe. But sometimes it ain't easy.

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