Predatory Credit Card Companies

I recently read an article in Time Magazine written by Daniel Kadlec about how Credit Card companies were becoming even more predatory in regards to milking their customers.  It’s not as if they weren’t doing well-enough already, right?

Here are some of the ways credit cards companies are trying to maximize their potential and all the while sticking it to the people who use their credit cards:

  1. Late Fees have been increased to an average penalty of $30, going as high as $39.  In the mid-90’s the average late fee penalty was closer to $15.
  2. Balance Transfer Fees of typically 3%. So if you transfer $5000 in credit card debt to another card, it’ll cost you $150.
  3. Minimum payments have increased across the board, doubled in some cases.
  4. Foreign Currency Conversion Fees of also typically 3% every time you use your card abroad.  (Take it from my personal experience that they also charge this for purchases in Canada!)
  5. Closing down an open account with a zero balance due to inactivity.  This hurts because every time a line of credit is closed your credit score negatively takes a hit.

So while we can complain all we want, we have no one to blame but ourselves.  The Credit Card companies disclose all these money-making schemes to us in the 20 page, microscopic font “CardHolder Agreements” that they send us with their credit cards.

The only real solution if you don’t want to be taken advantage of by these predatory tactics is simply not to use the Credit Card companies’ products.

Easier said than done, I know.

Here’s the link for that Time Magazine article if you’d like to check it out:,9171,1546352,00.html

— Attorney Andrew Partridge

2005 Law Changes Haven't Affected Majority

Writer Jeanne Sahadi from recently wrote an article about how the 2005 law changes to the Bankruptcy Code have not affected bankruptcy filings as drastically as some experts initially predicted. Now one year since the new bankruptcy laws went into effect, this also seems to be the same concurrent opinion of many consumer bankruptcy attorneys from around the country.Â

It’s true that many of us bankruptcy lawyers were fearful that the law changes would legally prevent a certain percentage of our population from filing bankruptcy and leave those people no opportunity to get a fresh start financially.   However, most of us attorneys have now found a year later that a large majority of our new clientele who would have qualified for bankruptcy relief under the old law without any hassle, also still qualify for bankruptcy relief under the new current law as well.Â

The calendar year of 2005 saw a huge surge in bankruptcy filings nationwide as people rushed to get their cases filed before the law change went into effect.  This of course helps to explain why bankruptcy filings are significantly down nationally this year compared to last year or even 2004. Contributing to this decrease in filings has also been a widely spread rumor that bankruptcy was not available any longer and/or that our government did away with the bankruptcy law.  This of course is far from the truth and reminds one not to believe everything they hear.   Â

So while it may not be fair or accurate to compare the number of clients coming into our doors from last year (2005) to this year (2006), we as attorneys are still finding that a steady stream of people are still in need of some sort of financial assistance and that bankruptcy is still available to a vast majority of them.Â

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