Ignoring the Fine Print Can Cost You (Big Time)

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Thanks to the Credit CARD Act, consumers are supposed to be more protected when using their credit cards.  Part of the legislation included provisions for more disclosure, and therefore notification, of any changes.  Since the bill was approved, you’ve probably seen a lot more letters in the mail from your credit card companies.

Keeping up with the fine print can be tedious (and boring), but something that requires your attention.  While expenses and fees have been curtailed in some regards, banks have been using creative means to make up those “losses” in other areas.

One of my credit cards recently sent a letter notifying me an annual fee was being introduced based on the average spending.  If you balance exceeded $1K you’d only have to pay $35/year and if it was under – $55/year.  Considering how I barely use this card because of the other reward credit cards, I was quite upset.  Cancelling the card wasn’t an option since it’s my oldest account – so I decided to call customer service.

Explaining the situation, they generously offered to only charge me the $35 instead of the $55.  Sorry, no thanks.  After a brief hold, they came back and said they would waive the fee indefinitely as long as I kept the account opened.  That was easy enough!  The entire conversation took around 7 minutes and saved me $55.

What was so interesting was how easy and quickly it was resolved, seems like there’s been a shift in the customer service mentality.  Gone are the days of yelling and threatening Better Business Bureau complaints (to an extent).  Of course, if this conversation took more than an hour as I was transferred between managers maybe it wouldn’t have been worth the time.  But $55 in 7 minutes equates to a billing rate of $385/hour – much more than I actually make.

So next time you think of trashing that credit card notice before reading it, take the time to review the details and see how it will affect you.  A minor tweak could end up meaning big savings on your part!

 

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