Sunday, August 29, 2010

I hate credit cards.

I hate credit cards.

Oh, you just don't know how much I hate credit cards.
I got my first one when I was in college...probably when I was about 18 years old.  The application was in the bottom of a shopping bag from the bookstore.

From that day forward I enjoyed so much the endless possibilities!!
Even though I only had a part time job, I could purchase things I wanted needed and figure out a way to pay for it later. 
What a concept!!!!
Whoever thunk that idea up was a GENIUS!
What a sweet wonderful considerate person who was thinking about poor destitute college students and helping them get through the lean educational years and still be able to live comfortably!!!

I'm embarrassed to say I've gotten myself "in trouble" with credit cards more than once. 
The last time was a doozy. 
Please don't judge me for I have truly redeemed my ways.

The last time my mom (yes, I am a mommy's baby, blah, blah, blah) helped me pay the debts but required me to deal with the credit card companies and go through all the hassle of actually getting the accounts closed and making sure my credit was in tact.

Here's a little secret I learned:
Credit card companies don't really want you to pay off your credit cards.
No matter how snippy they can be when they want you to make a payment (and they can be snippy), they really would just rather you get yourself into so much debt that you can barely breathe.

Here's how I know this:
In January 2010 my mom paid the balance of my credit card so I could breathe again.
We set up a schedule for repayment, and we also sat down and took a look at my budget (which was non-existent at that time).
My mom is tough businesswoman; it must be very difficult for her to have an English major as a daughter ;)
I am forever grateful for her though because once again she was there to bail me out and still loves me despite all my shortcomings.

The credit card company wouldn't let my mom make that big of a payment over the phone; they wanted her to mail it in.
(I told you they don't really want the money you owe them...not all of it anyway).
My saavy mom knew that bc of how interest works, the payoff today would not be the payoff once a check reached the credit card company through the mail.
She forced the credit card company to give her a payoff for the next day....24 hours later.
She FedExed the payment, and we got to work on my budget.

By March I began to get phone calls from said credit card company. 
I kept telling them that the account was paid off in January and there must be some mistake.
They assured me they would make a note of it.
Have a nice day.

By May I was receiving no less than 4-5 phone calls a day, 7 days per week, even on the weekends. (Can you say harrassment?) 
I wasn't there half the time, thank goodness, so all I would see on my caller ID was the 1-800 numbers. 
One day I finally was home and answered the phone.
The caller notified me that I owed 900 some odd dollars, my account was 4 months no payment, and if I didn't make a payment soon, they would turn my account over to collections.


I tried to explain to this person that this account was paid off in January.
I told this person about talking with someone in March who had assured me all would be fine.

Here's something else I bet you didn't know: the people that call you on the phone to ask you about your account (if that's ever happened to you) can't do jack about your account.  All they know is that they are supposed to call and aggravate you.  They have no power at all and cannot help you fix anything.  If they say they are going to "note" something, be sure sure you get their name and ID number. 

I ain't kiddin'

One day I actually was able to talk with someone in management. 

Imagine that.

After going through the entire scenario again with her for the umpteenth time, she asked me if I had been receiving my statements.  I said no...because I hadn't.
She asked me if I had to checked to see if the lump payment my mom made in January had actually gone through.
I told her the payment cleared my mom's bank account immediately.
She then proceeded to remark, "You'd think when someone makes a payment of $_______, she would double check and make sure the balance was 0.

Oh, NO, she didn't!!!

At this point I was glad we were on the phone because all of my genteel Southern manners would've flown out the door.
How dare this woman speak to me as if I am 10 years old and with a snide tone in her voice!
And, no, I'm not ultra sensitive; I have teenagers; I know snide when I hear it.

After finally putting me on hold forever (my mom said they go and listen to all the previous conversations with you on the telephone), sassy lady finally came back on and said that we'd been quoted the wrong payoff.
My mom's payment (the exact amount quoted to us) - the actual payoff amount = a small balance.
This small balance accrued interest, late payment fees and no payment fees over the months I thought this account was clear.

The good news was that because they had the tapes with the agent quoting us the wrong amount and our request that the account be closed, we would not be held accountable for this amount; the fees would be credited back to my account.

The bad news was that over the next couple of months it would actually take at least 3 more of these same conversations with other agents in other parts of the country to finally get all of this straightened out.
Each agent treated me as if I was some kind of deadbeat who was trying to get out of paying my bills.

I'm not exaggerating.

My mom paid the balance of this credit card on Jan. 7, 2010.
I finally received a statement with a 0 balance and all of the $900 in fees credited back to me on July 7, 2010.

As God is my witness, Scarlett and I will NEVER have another credit card.
Credit card companies are no better than loan sharks.
I have no doubt in my mind that they have taken advantage of millions and billions of people over the years just the same way they tried to take advantage of me.

Guess what I got in the mail not a month after I finally received a statement with a 0 balance?

You've got to be kidding me??

 And then another one...

 Oh my, I feel so very special...

Look at this pretty one...ooohhh ahhhh

awwwww, just like a Hallmark card...


supposedly I'm supposed to look at these lemons and think of this credit card as lemon "aid"
Why, isn't that just the cutest thing...


I ought to sue the credit card companies for giving me carpel tunnel syndrome...


And, then, even more...

Just say NO!!
Have I mentioned I hate credit cards???


  1. Oh, they are awful! We've never gotten into trouble with one since my hubs is a stickler for such things, but we have friends who have gotten deep in debt! It's so easy to do! So glad your mom helped you out. Can't believe the phone calls after! ugh.

  2. Be strong, Patti, be strong!!

    Just carry your cash, and you'll be just fine! :)

  3. Betsy, My husband is also a stickler about such things. He would rather die than carry a balance. I got into that mess all by myself. I am so thankful to have my mom...I also know people who have gotten themselves so deeply into debt that they cannot get themselves out...very sad.

    Roan, don't you worry about me...lesson learned. I actually enjoy being able to say, "Nope, can't have it...I'm outa money." :)

  4. My daughter also got herself into CC trouble after college; they make it so easy is right. You do need to have (1) credit card though for travel and emergencies, IMO.

    Glad you are now out of debt!

  5. I got sucked into the same delirious glee in college -- and wound up in the same massive sewer of debt and interest creating more debt. I was stalked and harassed over $20 one time, which I still don't think I really owed even though I ended up paying it because I couldn't stand living in fear anymore. I hate credit cards, too!! I read David Bach's "Smart Women Finish Rich," and am so excited that I felt empowered to look at my credit score, get on a plan, start saving my money and even started a retirement plan to prepare! It's all about feeling strong enough to fix it, and I loved his book!

  6. I got into HUGE trouble in college, and finally pulled myself out. I still have a credit card, but we pay it off every month that we actually use it.
    You need to sign up for the Pre-screen opt out, then they won't send you all those offers in the mail anymore. And, I've been told signing up actually will bump up your score a little bit:-)

  7. Oh, I agree wholeheartedly! Credit Cards are the devil! And I know exactly what you mean about the rude reps of these companies. One time they had the gall to ask hubby what he did with his money! He didn't take too kindly to that! I am glad you have found a way to get out of debt. We did a lot of Dave Ramsey's program which had some wonderful advantages.

  8. Ugh. I don't even want to talk about credit cards right now. They are the bane of our existence.

    Your mom?