Chase, Sears, Bank of America, Capitol One, and US Bank among the top five worst offenders
In 2009 the biggest culprits from our recent survey includes Chase, Sears, Bank of America, Capitol One, and US Bank. Both Visa and MasterCard were well represented.
Late Fees, “Over the Limit” Charges and Interest Rates
If you take the time to search for the term "credit card complaints" on the Internet, you’ll find thousands of message boards, forums and blogs which contain reports from consumers about the unethical practices of credit card companies.
As well, all the social media sites and viral sites like Twitter and YouTube is becoming a platform for the people’s choice.
Why, then, are so few complaints filed against credit card companies with the United States government?
There are no government agencies that regulate credit card companies, which means that consumers are defrauded every day. If you feel that you have been treated unfairly by your credit card company, file a complaint.
Top Reasons to File a Complaint Against Your Credit Card Company
There are plenty of reasons why you might need to file a complaint against a credit card company, but a few a more common than others.
- Late Fees – Even if you send your payment on time every month, credit card companies can find a way to charge late fees which can start to mount up. For example, let’s say that you write a check to your credit card company but forget to include your account number on the check. The credit card company can claim that it took them longer to process your payment because of your failure to include the account number, and subsequently charge a late fee. Things like this should be reported.
- “Over the limit” Charges – There are usually hefty fees associated with charging more than your credit limit, and irresponsible spenders deserve to incur those charges. However, if you are "pushed" over the limit by late fees, finance charges and other things that are beyond your control, you should file a complaint. Credit card companies make money by charging fees on top of fees, and you shouldn’t be forced to take that kind of abuse.
- Interest Rates – In recent years, more and more credit card companies have been sued for charging interest rates higher than the ones advertised to their customers. For example, if you fill out a credit card application and receive an approval for a 9.9% interest rate, you should file a complaint if you receive a bill with 10.9% interest calculated. This is unethical and an abuse of credit card practices.
File a Complaint With Your Credit Card Company First
Give your credit card company the benefit of the doubt and bring their oversight to their attention. Simply call them and let them know that you believe you were charged differently than what should have been, and explain that you want your account changed to reflect the appropriate balance.
It doesn’t hurt to add that you will be cutting up their credit card if they can’t provide good customer service, but if they don’t comply, you’ll have to go to the next step.
File a Complaint with the Attorney General
You can find the contact information for your state’s Attorney General’s office at www.naag.org. Each website will have a complaint form which can be filled out with the specifics of your complaint. If the attorney general receives enough complaints about a specific credit card company, an investigation will be launched.
However, the attorney general does not fight individual battles and if no one files complaints, nothing will ever be done.
File a Complaint with the Better Business Bureau
As far as your individual case is concerned, you might get farther with the BBB than with anyone else. The Better Business Bureau will attempt to help both parties reach negotiations about the dispute. Most companies do not want unsatisfactory records with the BBB, and will do whatever they can to mediate the dispute.
Be sure to leave as much information as possible, including the amount of the charge you are disputing, names of credit card company representatives with whom you have spoken, and copies of letters you have previously sent.