||Ask the Dollar Diva
How do I deal with credit card
company dirty tricks?
Dear Dollar Diva,
What recourse do consumers have since many credit card issuers have
consolidated; most issuers are unscrupulous about raising rates,
adding fees, etc.; and many working people need credit cards and
do not have the money to pay them off?
Do credit card companies employ sleazy,
predatory tactics to pick consumers' pockets? You bet. Should
you send letters to your representative in Congress
demanding protection from the unfair business practices that rob
you blind? You bet. Should you sic your prepaid legal service on
your credit card company every time it pulls a fast one? Amen. Consumers
are mad, and as Bankrate.com reports in a recent story, "They're
not going to take it any more: Credit card customers fight back."
But the Diva reminds you that most working people
are grown-ups. And part of being a grown-up is taking charge of
one's financial life. The average consumer can't control his credit
card company's behavior, but he can control his own. If he's carrying
high-interest credit card debt and not doing everything possible
to get rid of it, he's a fool.
Dump that debt
Most people who get sucked in by easy credit are not
fools; once they realize how much it's costing them, they want out.
If you're ready to dump high-interest debt, the Diva offers the
following suggestions to get you started:
The ubiquitous consumer
The Diva has a word of advice for the ubiquitous consumer.
Stop wearing the consumer badge as if it were a Purple Heart. When
the consumer component of a person's identity is magnified, shopping
takes on the role of a worthy pastime; it becomes a duty to consume.
The Diva wishes to set the record straight: Consuming
is easy and there's no great glory in it. You already know this
if you have a house full of toys and clothes, and you're not feeling
really joyful. Joy comes from doing hard things such as producing,
creating, building, fixing and nurturing. Maybe it's time for the
inveterate consumer to change his spending habits and start being
-- Posted: Sept. 26, 2000