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April 08, 2010

Wall St trumps Main St - BobKat Announces Rate Hike to Unsolicited...

I'd love to say this post is tongue in cheek, but it's not. Instead, "I'm Mad as Hell and I'm Not Going To Take it Anymore!".

No, this isn't about ganja.

It's about my current bank that I've had for over 10 years, and credit card companies I've been a well treated client for over 20 years... and how 5 of 8 are screwing me.

My bank where I've had what i thought was "Free Checking" for years. Of late I've discovered they've been charging me a $15/month maintenance fee, for over a year now and i didn't realize it.

I've been scrimping pennies, trying hard to stay in a budget that I can feel comfortable in. I'm one of the fortunate one's. I'm employed... 12 years almost. This year we didn't get a raise. That's a shame, as I busted my ass last year for the company. You'd think they could take out a loan to give us a raise.

Sorry, got off subject there.

I also have a savings acct. with the bank. I have it because of an identity theft event, an event filed with the FTC, and I have it in writing, my identity was stolen. I spoke with my bank, and they recommended a "free savings account". I could have my paycheck therein deposited, then transfer what I'd need to checking. The ID theft happened in 2007. My plan worked well, until...

A month ago I discovered a strange charge online accessing my account. I was looking at Savings. There was a $5 service charge. Hmm. My house mate who also had the same bank/similar account noticed it too. What was it for???

But there was more. I called my bank and expressed my concern. I had signed up for "free savings".  She pointed out the agreement allowed them to change the rules anytime they liked.

I've listened to enough Market Place on NPR to know a line like that. I told the person, given the fact that I had a case filed and verified by the FTC, they couldn't charge me a service charge out of the blue. I asked, "had they notified me?"

She said "yes..." the person I was transferred to, that I was told could help. That person couldn't. It was the rule I accepted the rules, that they could change the rules at any time.

Total charge? Over $200-$300/yr

Add that to all the other interest, taxes, fees, basic needs and commuting expenses, it's amazing I have any extra money each day.


Well, effective immediately, I have no choice but to enact a citizen's charge for any and all junk mail, credit-card offers, special offers or free stuff, if I join or submit an application for approval. Effectively immediately a service charge of $25 will be assessed per offer, that I receive by mail, unsolicited. Included in that charge is a maintenance fee, handling charge.

It costs me to look at, consider, look at, read or shred that unsolicited mail. I could send a letter "opting out of receiving these offers". But they can "opt out" too. Or agree to to rates. Just send me a terr detailing your request. A $30 service charge will apply to consider your request.

It's up to you to read this post... failure to do so does NOT excuse or exclude you from said fees and charges.

Thank-you... my new business model should prove as lucrative as what my bank is now feeling !

How is it as a tax-payer who bailed out Wall St., who still gets bonuses that I could barely make in my lifetime, raise my rates across the board, and claim they have no choice but to raise every fee, charge, and cost to benefit them, when they are the ones who screwed up and put society in the mess of a GREAT RECESSION it's in???

While their borrowing and lending rates remain near 0%, us consumers are seeing an increase in all of our rates.

Something smells bad...

And I'm not suggesting "in Denmark". Right here at home.

Born in the USA... as a citizen, just wondering... is anybody out there, anybody listening?

The biggest question/criticism I have is directed towards myself. And perhaps this is the other 50% of the financial reform issue being discussed in Washington. Why did I not realize I was being charged these fees by my bank, until now, when they were right there on my statement?

Damn good question!

I check my accounts nearly everyday, online. I peruse my charges and credits. I look for something out of the ordinary, but that can be difficult given the unusual account names that appear on statements. I tend to look at them. Services charges... I do see them, and I often call the bank, and it nothing... like I didn't realize there was a limit to the number of online transfers per month there were. 4 transfers/month is the limit, I think. Go over that and there's a service charge. When this first happened to me, I called the bank and they refunded me, my agreeing I now understood the terms.

The fact is... I didn't see a service charge for my account coming. I trusted my bank. I had online access to my account and received text messages for changes to my account. I never saw one telling the to rate changes, the fact the bank had been sold a third time, that new rates were in effect. All seemed on the up and up.

I was blind-sided. That's not against the law... though it should be.Yeah, I should have noticed the charges, but I didn't. Along with everything else going on right now in our country, this is just one more example of how Wall St. trumps Main St.

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