Monday 5 May 2014

The “Insured” Credit Card “Scam”

I have always wondered why one of my credit cards was much more expensive (monthly minimum payment) than the others. I always attributed this to the fact that this one had the highest credit limit (not quite maxed out).

I examined my credit card statement (for this card) closely and noticed one line “Credit protection insurance). . . . this  made me wonder.

It looked like it was just something attributed to the card (IE: part of the minimum payment) but it was listed in the “new charges” portion of the statement.

I called the card company to find out that this was a piece of “insurance” that I was talked into shortly after getting the card. This was okay but the charge was over seventy bucks a month!

The person told me that it was not a fixed charge but simply one percent . . . of the outstanding balance . . . per month. To put it mildly . . . I was pissed. They told me that there was nothing they could do because it was from a separate company.

I then enquired how new charges could appear on a closed account? (Yes, this card is closed but I still have a balance on it). They told me that this was different as it was not a retail purchase and still “protecting me.”

I especially loved the logic that it was my responsibility to cancel this insurance, and so it was all my fault that I asked for. I still wonder how any new charges can appear on a closed card.

If I tried to use that thing to buy a candy bar, that would be declined (and fraud), but they can let their buddy charge my dead card 1% of the outstanding balance each and every month . . . to a dead card? Does this seem fair to anyone?

If all of the money that I had paid for this “insurance” had been put towards the balance, I would be $2100.00 ahead by now.

I called the company in question and demanded a refund from the time that the card had been closed until now (30 months). All she did was refund the charge that had just happened and the one for the previous month. That was it.

Any further demands to either “customer service” departments simply got them explaining the same thing in different ways, ignoring why I was upset and just restating policy.

For a laugh, I decided to complain up the ladder and see what I could get. I called a credit counselling agency and was told that they would help me figure out how to pay my bills and not help with this. (I wanted an outside opinion).

I phoned the federal regulator for credit cards and got it confirmed that this was the policy but he pointed me in the direction of the proper procedure and way to complain with regards to this specific credit card company.

Each person I talked to told me the same thing and made it feel like it was a bother to talk to me. The added insult was that they talked to me like I was just stupid or slow on the uptake for needed this many times to be told their policy.

The “customer ombudsmen’ never bothered to call me back and I never bothered to call them again. I just realized that I got screwed and as the little guy and the customer, I will always get screwed. We live in a Caveat Emptor” world, my friends.

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