Friday, March 13, 2009

A Bank Of America Balance Transfer Goes Terribly Wrong


This is one of those stories. I hear about these stories quite a bit but I never get a lot of details. This one is different, though. I have all of the gory details. This is the story of a reader who tried to take advantage of a balance transfer offer that he received from Bank of America. Anything that could go wrong did.

My reader, Ryan, has been a credit-card customer with Bank of America for about ten years. During that ten-year period, Ryan has never missed a payment with B of A -- or any other creditor. What's more, he's never been late. Ryan and his wife both have full-time jobs. And they do not have a mortgage payment. What they do have, though, is a fairly substantial credit-card balance of $12,000.

The $12,000 balance is sitting on another bank's credit card, accruing interest at 0%. The problem, though, is that the promotional rate is about to expire, which is why Ryan was looking to move the balance to B of A. Ryan called B of A and haggled for a 1% rate, which would expire in March 2010. There would be a 3% transaction fee. Satisfied with the terms, Ryan decided to take the deal. "They read us the standard terms of the agreement and tell us the transaction has been approved," Ryan told me.

Fast forward to a week later. "We are responsible consumers who keep an eagle eye on all our finances," Ryan says. "We check our account online and notice that the transfer has not gone through." Uh, oh. Ryan decides to give B of A a call to find out what the holdup is. Turns out that the transfer was rejected. But that's not all. B of A also canceled Ryan's credit card. "We are taken by surprise. There was no notification of this termination. No email. No phone call. No letter. We had checked the account online that very morning and it was active," Ryan told me.

So what in the heck happened? "They tell us their credit department had 'randomly' reviewed our file and decided to 'automatically' terminate the account," says Ryan. "It was merely 'coincidence' that it came one day after the balance transfer offer had been made," Ryan says, not believing a single bit of B of A's explanation. (As a side note, this situation reminds me of the story that Liz Weston featured on her blog recently. Two of her readers -- also Bank of America credit-card customers -- tried to get their interest rates reduced. The phone calls ended badly (blog link here).)

B of A, meanwhile, says that it is willing to do a 2.9% balance transfer (good until August 2009) on Ryan's other B of A card. Ryan rejects the inferior offer. By this time, Ryan has spent about two hours on the phone going back and forth with customer-service representatives. Frustrated, Ryan asks for a supervisor. Ryan must have the patience of a saint. I would have requested a supervisor within ten minutes.

Ryan finally gets a supervisor on the phone. The supervisor explains what happened and says that its decision to terminate the offer and the card is related to a delinquency on Ryan's credit card. That's news to him. "We explain this is not possible, that we’ve never missed a payment," Ryan says. "They tell us that we are wrong, that we have defaulted, and that we need to discuss it with their credit-assessment department." Of course, the credit-assessment office is closed for the evening.

Ryan hangs up and heads to annualcreditreport.com so that he can get his free annual credit report. Just as he suspected, there are no delinquencies on his credit report. At this point, Ryan is pissed. "Bank of America lied to us," he says. Ryan jumps back on the phone and speaks to someone in B of A's fraud department. Ryan's complaint goes something like this: B of A reneged on its verbal agreement to do the original balance transfer, it failed to inform him of the canceled balance transfer, and a B of A employee lied about a delinquency that does not exist.

Ryan is told to call back in the morning when, the B of A employee says, someone can fix the problem. While I understand Ryan's frustration, let's make something clear. B of A, like other banks, reserves the right to change its mind about balance transfers. That doesn't satisfy Ryan but I wanted to get that out in the open. In the meantime, Ryan has now spent three hours on the phone. Ryan finally gives up for the evening.

I wish I could tell you that the story ended there. It doesn't.

The next morning Ryan is back at it with B of A. He lobs a call into the credit-assessment department, hoping for a swift resolution. Ryan reaches a credit analyst. The analyst conducts a mini financial review. Ryan provides all of the information that's requested. Ryan is then put on hold. After a few minutes on hold, the credit analyst returns. Not only is the card going to remain canceled, he is told, but the limits on Ryan's other cards are going to be slashed by $30,000. "I ask why they would do such a thing," Ryan says. Since becoming a B of A customer, household income has moved substantially higher, Ryan told me. So what gives? Bank of America said "the income figure I had given her was actually much less. I point out that she had asked for my individual income and that there is a massive difference between individual income and household income. Our annual household income is more than double my income. I also point out that this income is significantly higher than when we originally opened two of these credit cards, which we did right after college when neither of us had secured jobs."

In light of the explanation Ryan offered, the analyst said that she would recalculate the income figures. She put Ryan on hold again. Five minutes pass and the analyst returns. Sorry. Even with the big jump in income (double the first figure she used), it isn't going to make a difference. The card will remain closed and the limits will be slashed by $30,000. Ryan was told, after he asked, that the reduced credit limits would negatively impact his credit score. "Sorry, yes," the B of A analyst told Ryan. "We asked why -- having never missed a payment in the ten years that we have been customers of theirs and having never missed a payment with any card or debt that we have –- why Bank of America would suddenly, out of the blue, decide to damage my credit score. She declined to answer the question," Ryan says.

This Ryan is persistent. Ryan, extremely frustrated by this point, asks to be transferred to yet another supervisor. He gets transferred to a Kristy Meekins, who works in the Cleveland call center. Once again, Ryan explains the situation -- including the misunderstanding about the income figure that the analyst first used to justify her credit decision. After listening to Ryan's pitch, Meekins said that B of A's decision -- and the amount of credit it was willing to extend -- was in keeping with their new lending standards, which are based on "the current economic climate."

Meekins did offer an alternative solution, though. "Bank of America would give us the transfer at the interest rate previously agreed on (1%) but they would reduce our line of credit by $30,000 and we would have to spread the transfer across multiple cards, including the card that we use to make our purchases and pay in full each month," Ryan says. "Meaning, when we pay our bill, the amount will be credited against the low balance transfer rate and not the higher purchase APR which we never allow to accrue interest." Ryan knows a bad deal when he hears one. This one reeked. "We tell her this is not a solution," says Ryan.

After giving the supervisor a lecture on B of A's own financial woes, woes that the American taxpayer is helping to cure, Ryan throws in the towel. After spending five-and-a-half hours on the phone with B of A, no resolution was forthcoming. "If this is how Bank of America treats customers of ten years who have never been late with, or missed a payment, I cannot even begin to imagine how they are treating customers who have had difficulties across the years," an exasperated Ryan tells me. "If this is how American business thinks it’s going to survive the current economic crisis, then our country is headed off the cliff."

I was curious about the $12,000 balance. Where did that come from? "The reason we were doing this transfer is not because we had made excessive purchases last year, it was not because we had taken a holiday we could not afford; it was because my wife missed more than a month of work to be with a family member who had been diagnosed with cancer. We relied on credit to bridge the gap," Ryan says.

I'm not going to give Ryan a lecture -- because he doesn't need it -- but the bottom line is that a balance is a balance is a balance. Card issuers don't care about your reasons. They only care about whether you're going to pay them off. It's nothing but business. In hindsight, Ryan would have been much better off just staying off the phone. And that goes for most people. If you don't absolutely have to, don't get on the phone with card issuers. More and more, the end result is not positive.

I'll give Ryan the last word.

"Our nation is scaffolding businesses that have failed to meet the most basic standards of financial diligence and those same businesses are turning around and punishing the very people who are their life support," Ryan argues. "If Bank of America is to survive, it is because people like us will continue to pay the bills. If we don’t (pay the bills), then they won’t (survive). You’d think that would be Business 101. Then again maybe it’s too much to expect a business that’s all but ran itself into the ground to understand the basics. That was, after all, their problem in the first place."

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•Read More Bank of America Stories Here

127 comments:

  1. I am at a loss of words to how Ryan was treated. It is despicable of Bank of America. I hope (not just from this story but from the mulitude of stories I've heard and read) Bank of America crash and burn!!!!!!! Along with Citibank.

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  2. Ryan is a really nice guy (which is irrelevant, of course).

    After hearing his story, I am surprised Bank of America didn't close all of his accounts. B of A sure did sink its teeth into him.

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  3. I know from reading here (and from being a former regular at CreditBoards.com) to not call any credit card company for any reason.

    But why? Why should I be subject to adverse action just for calling and asking a question?

    How can a company enter a contract, agreeing to do a $12K BT then back out? The time to say "no" was before they said yes, not after.

    Somebody somewhere needs to get a pit bull lawyer and go after a credit card company. I hope it's Ryan, BofA defaulted on the terms of a contract with him then turned around and caused continuing damage to Ryan's credit score - they even admitted so to him.

    Once the very first person wins a significant award for a CC company's limit cutting, then every bank would have to think twice, then thrice, about cutting limits without solid backup data showing verifiable proof of reduced ability to repay.

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  4. I will say this, FLT. The fine print allows a bank to rescind its offer if, in the bank's opinion, the person is not creditworthy enough. Not saying that this is any excuse for how the situation was handled, though. Just saying that a lawsuit would likely fail.

    The difference here, though, is that we had a verbal agreement between the customer and B of A's agent. I doubt that a verbal disclosure was given about B of A having the right to rescind what amounts to a "tentative" offer.

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  5. Bank of America is EVIL. When will people realize this, and stop being part of their machine? I have friends that have simple bank accounts with them, and all they do is complain, and have, for years! BUT they never move their accounts to a nice, simple local bank?! I would NEVER bank with Bank of America, if they were the last bank in the world. They just suck. Everyone should just jump off the B&A train, and then we wouldn't have to worry about them anymore. How do these companies get so huge, when they suck so much? LOL Rant over.

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  6. Nathan, don't hold back. Tell us what you really think. Haha.

    Thanks for the comment.

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  7. CM - Fine print or not, let Ryan's attorney explain to a jury how BofA said "yes" then not only changed their mind, but deliberately caused tangible damages by causing a lower FICO score.

    Juries can and do declare fine print to be invalid.

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  8. No doubt, FLT. And Ryan is someone who could create problems. He knows the right people.

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  9. The reads like a script for a credit-junkie horror flick. Seriously, right now they will use any excuse to get rid of customers--customers they will NEED if they are to stay in business--and if you give them any reason to look at your account, they will seize the opportunity to "evaluate" it and find it lacking. I'm fully expecting to be axed by Chase any day now, because I got their attention by converting a card.

    We've kept them in business since the beginning of time. We've now saved their a$$es by giving them money most of us can't even spare, to keep them afloat after executives drove banks into a ditch with mismanagement and using their companies as private ATMs.

    And this is what we get for our generosity. Ryan, I truly sympathize, empathize and everything else.

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  10. I did enjoy writing the story, though -- even if the details sucked.

    I have not heard from Ryan today. Maybe he'll chime in.

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  11. Ryan needs to start paying off his debt. BoA may be welchers, but they have accurately gaged his situation. He has debt that he can't pay off, and is trying to shift it around. They don't want that debt because they know he won't pay it off. He is, or at least contrived to look like he is, in the early denial stage of default: the "we always pay our bills by the due date" stage. His behavior has convinced BoA that the debt will sit around until someday, when something bad, like illness or job loss, happens, Ryan will default, and "it won't be his fault." They have no intention of being the bagholder when that happens.

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  12. As I mentioned in the story: a balance is a balance is a balance. Regardless of how it got there, it needs to not be there.

    In the end, customers better be careful when they call card issuers -- especially if you're not in tip-top shape.

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  13. From Marketplace

    A bad credit card experience

    http://www.publicradio.org/columns/marketplace/gettingpersonal/2009/03/question_i_just_had_an.html

    Look familiar?

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  14. Bank of America is certainly not above lying.
    My own personal recent horror story involves trying to get BoA to make good on a $75 bonus for opening an online checking account. The offer stated that within 90 days I would be credited $75. Fine. I set outlook to remind me when the 90 days from funding were up. 91 days later I called and was told they would research it, call back in 5 business days. When I called back I was told I was not eligible. I gave them the promo code that I was given. She then told me to call back in 7 business days. I waited and called back. This rep told me that a check had been sent out to me on X date (3 days before the 90 were up, first rep didn't know that.) I said I was expecting a credit, not a check and that I had received neither. He said they would cancel the check and issue a credit to the account. It would take 7 more business days (BoA can’t look to see if a check was cashed and put a stop payment on it immediately?). 7 business days later I spoke to another supervisor who told me that no one had properly flagged my situation for investigation, she would do just that and that the bonus were always paid as a credit. Oh and the "real" investigation would take 30 days.

    One week later I received a check for $75 in the mail from Bank of America.

    That was fun.

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  15. Yes, p... and Bank of America should know all about financial mismanagement, shouldn't they? They should know all about being in debt and then sticking their hands into Ryan's pocket--and every other American's pocket--to make up for it. Forget the fact that Ryan has most likely paid back his debt several times over in interest over the years.

    I see no evidence that Ryan was not going to pay this debt, or that he was not in a position to do so. Unlike Bank of America.

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  16. I understand both parties here. B of A didn't want the exposure. Ryan didn't want to pay more than a 1% APR.

    But B of A's mischaracterization of a delinquency didn't help anything.

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  17. Speaking of hating BoA, have you guys ever seen this? - http://consumerist.com/5019899/after-one-error-too-many-man-places-i-hate-bank-of-america-banner-on-his-house

    It's just a few blocks from my house, and almost direct across the street from a BoA branch. It's so Philadelphia!

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  18. Lutton, thanks. I had not seen that before. How funny. Avi did the right thing. He did not take down the sign.

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  19. I just think these banks should be more cognizant of where their next meal is coming from, and who keeps them in jobs. The Ryans of the world are not the ones bringing them down, it's their own inflated salaries, bonuses and perks--coupled with their past irresponsible lending judgment--doing the damage. They should have more respect for the people paying their way. If someone is really a bad customer, fine... cut them loose. But don't make sh*t up to get rid of good ones.

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  20. LOL Nathan. I've always avoided doing business with B of A. Unfortuneately, a few years ago they swallowed our Wachovia card. But I can only blame myself for not only continuing to do business with them, but running up the balance.

    As far as companies staying in business, etc., I've noticed in the last several years that a lot of businesses seem to focus on the short-term. That, and instead of hiring the best talent, the powers that be network their buddies into the top jobs. Basically, they appear to have stopped focusing on the companies long term health and are in it for what they can grab. Hence, the lovely golden parachutes.

    b_in_sc

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  21. Good story. One of your comments is particulary disturbing:

    "In hindsight, Ryan would have been much better off just staying off the phone. And that goes for most people. If you don't absolutely have to, don't get on the phone with card issuers. More and more, the end result is not positive."

    This is what the credit card business has come to: B of A can do anything it wants, anytime it wants, and it's best for the card holder to NOT make the call and proctect him/herself??

    I recently cancelled my B of A card and glad I did. Citi and B of A have no soul and have become so huge, they no longer can function. Dave Ramsey is right, local banks and credit unions, and cancel the credit cards. all of them.

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  22. Dave Ramsey is NOT right. Cancel the credit cards and your credit scores plummet. Then one day you want to rent a car, or get a mortgage, or a car loan, or a loan for your kids' education, or you are hit with big unexpected medical bills. Then what?

    Then you realize that you should have KEPT the credit cards, but used them sparingly and strategically, just as you would cash.

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  23. The thing that is most troubling to me is that this behavior was spread across multiple BofA employees in different departments and locations. What that means, as far as I can tell, is that these instances of lying, misleading and deliberately misintepreting financial information, are not isolated. This is not a case of one BofA randomly acting out of step. This is BofA employees spread far and wide behaving in like fashion. Which can only mean, to my mind, that this conduct is being dictated by BofA management, and that these employees are being trained to behave in this manner.

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  24. I agree Eve, that's why I included my non-credit card experience. I did not feel like I was dealing with incompetence, it felt like a planned stall tactic.

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  25. Ryan from the story here. I want to thank you for the thorough write-up. I’m still waiting for the letter BofA claims they sent out over a week ago notifying me that the card was cancelled. As far the risk aspect can be used to justify their behavior, I was under the impression that a FICO score above 760 meant that you were a low credit risk. I guess in these economic times all bets are off.

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  26. Ulysses said...
    "Dave Ramsey is NOT right. Cancel the credit cards and your credit scores plummet. Then one day you want to rent a car, or get a mortgage, or a car loan, or a loan for your kids' education, or you are hit with big unexpected medical bills. Then what?

    Then you realize that you should have KEPT the credit cards, but used them sparingly and strategically, just as you would cash."

    The real problem is they get you comming and going. You have the choice between dealing with a financial organization who has a scary amount of control over your credit rating and as part of their business model flat out LIES to you the customer, OR cancel your card and risk having your FICO score damaged. The consumer is screwed. Twice. As a customer and a taxpayer.....:-)

    Dave Ramsey is right. Why play a game where you are set up to fail ???

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  27. I am sick!

    Very sorry this happened to one of their most reliable customers.

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  28. Anon: I can see your points to a certain extent. I totally, TOTALLY agree that the odds are stacked against us and our credit scores are being manipulated by forces beyond our control and affected by factors other than our own behavior.

    But as modern Americans, we're in the situation where we DO have to play the game. Otherwise we put ourselves at a disadvantage. The trick is to play the game as intelligently as possible. Sometimes you'll lose. But not playing *guarantees* you can't win, because we live in a capitalist society where unless you go off the grid, you need to maintain a good credit rating--which does NOT mean running up debt.

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  29. Thanks, Liz Pulliam Weston:

    http://asklizweston.com/?p=688

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  30. Anon@12:11pm,

    Sadly, my comment reflects the current business climate.

    Cancel ALL cards? No. I like the idea of credit unions, though. In particular, perhaps it's time for more people to start looking to do biz with those institutions. Indeed, get a credit card from one of these institutions as well.

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  31. Problem with "just open a card with another issuer" is that it's yet another way to get ALL your other creditors' attention at the same time. Flashing red lights and screaming sirens... "SEEKING NEW CREDIT! FINANCIAL TROUBLE! CLD OR CLOSE AT ONCE!" LOL

    A few months ago, I said on another board that it would be smart to lay low for a while. Stay under the radar. Don't apply for anything, don't ask for CLIs, don't suddenly ramp up card usage. Don't do anything to get their attention. I was accused of fearmongering, told I was exaggerating and that just because "a few" people were seeing AA for apparently no reason, didn't mean it was a widespread trend or would affect more than a few people... most likely, they did something to deserve it that they're not admitting to. No one agreed with me that were headed to... well, THIS.

    I never bothered going back to argue about it. But I often wonder just how much their tune has changed, and how many of them feel stupid about just how wrong they were.

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  32. Laying low has been smart for quite some time. I have applied for one personal credit card during the past 19 months.

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  33. The conspiracy theorist in me wonders if this isn't a ploy BofA is using to gauge which customers might be in distress. Send out certain tantalizing offers and the ones that bite might need to be FR'd and have AA.

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  34. I'd be afraid to apply for anything right now, if only because anyone pulling my report would be wondering why I need more credit when I'm not using any of the like $70k I already have. They'd probably think I was planning to max out and run.

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  35. Anon, I wonder the same thing each time I get an offer in the mail. Did you know that card issuers actually attach more risk to someone who does respond to those mailers? It's part of their risk model.

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  36. Another lesson why credit cards must be maxed out all the time.No credit limit chasing,no card canceling and you are the boss.

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  37. That's flawed thinking, Anon.

    If you're maxed out, you're just as bad off as the person who is being chased. They're one and the same. Both result in maxed out cards.

    And once you do start paying the balance down, you eventually could see the limit drop as well.

    As for the card canceling, no guarantee there either. Card issuers can close your account and just allow you to pay down the balance on the closed account.

    The smarter thing to do is just not carry balances.

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  38. After listening to Elizabeth Warren's interview the other day with Terry Gross, the final piece of the puzzle re: Amex's $300 offer for people to close their accounts fell into place for me. She said that while they are trying to move these accounts off the books to improve their position, they are shooting themselves in the foot. She points out that, ironically, if one has the money to pay then Amex just lost a good paying customer. Also, she points out that other customers, the ones that Amex would like to get rid of, would end up transferring the balances to other cards in order to collect the $300 and close their accounts, which is essentially American Express shoving its bad accounts to other banks.

    Since then I've wondered if people would begin having problems with balance transfers as they decide they do not want to become any other bank's dumping grounds for bad accounts.

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  39. Sorry, in that last sentence they=banks.

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  40. CS, she's talking about adverse selection. The ones who can afford to pay the balance off are the customers you would have wanted to retain. Those who don't bite, because they cannot afford to pay the balance, are those who remain. You end up keeping the customers you didn't want; you get rid of those you actually did want.

    As to your last point, that's a good thought. Could be that card issuers will be more reticent about taking on some balances.

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  41. When your interest rate goes up by 10% because your bank is either greedy or mismanaged, you're not left with much of a choice but to find a BT deal.

    Ugh. I hate that Capital One balance of mine. But I'll be... darned if I'm going to fork over like a month's rent all at once in this climate... to Capital Friggin' One!! >:-(

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  42. Forgive my language today, CM. I know this is a family site. Feel free to censor as you see fit. :-(

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  43. Not a problem. I don't see anything that needs to be edited.

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  44. I get these offers from Bank of America almost every week. Sometimes they are 0% sometimes they are 1.99%. It would be interesting if they were using them to gauge risk as someone else mentioned.

    I do know someone that transfered around $20k without any problems one one of these offers though.

    Anyhow, when you dance with the devil...

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  45. "The Ryans of the world are not the ones bringing them down, it's their own inflated salaries, bonuses and perks--coupled with their past irresponsible lending judgment--doing the damage."

    The current crisis was not caused in any sense by inflated salaries, bonuses, perks etc.

    This crisis goes far beyond some banks being "irresponsible", its a fundamental crisis of the entire financial system.

    You're barking up the wrong tree, but this is exactly what the banking elite want.

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  46. Any executive who uses his company as his own personal ATM has to be considered at least partly responsible for that company's failure.

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  47. Wow, I had an almost IDENTICAL experience with BofA. 10+ year card holder, never late, always paid more than the minimum, but I do revolve balances (on a card with 5.9% fixed, why not)....any other balances I carry are on 0% or 1% for life transfers (on other cards). I called to fix a misunderstanding on 1 of my 2 BofA cards. I was told nothing would be changed on my other card (30k limit). I find out after the credit person hangs up she lowers my credit limit more than 10k!! I now have a 19,600 limit with a balance of 19,300.

    I call and fight with 2 other reps, 1 of whom hangs up on me. I have to wait "24-48" hours for a supervisor to call me back. I get a call back and after another 30min conversation I'm basically told "too bad so sad" - even though they acknowledged I was misled and given false information. Total phone time 3.5 hours. Total result: limited slashed by almost 11k...2 cards being shown maxed out.

    - T

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  48. Bank of America, if you are reading this, please - just do us all a favor and burn and go to h***.

    To Ryan, I am sorry to hear about your ordeal, but with your great credit you should be able to get a new card easily.

    Good luck!

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  49. "Any executive who uses his company as his own personal ATM has to be considered at least partly responsible for that company's failure."

    An executive of a large public corporation can't use his company as his own personal ATM. His salary, bonuses or whatever else is subject to approval by the owners of the company (e.g., shareholders).

    But more importantly this isn't why the companies are failing they are failing due to a financial crisis. The crisis was not caused by inflated salaries.

    "on a card with 5.9% fixed, why not"

    Because you won't get a 5.9% after tax risk free return anywhere else.

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  50. Maybe I am naive, but I am thinking that if you applied online you do get some kind of confirmation, no? Then it's no longer just a verbal agreement and the bank is bound by it.
    After all, let's say you're considering a BT and you bypass another lender's offer burn your hard-inquiry, which can potentially lower your CS, then they're liable for damages.

    In the current economic scenario, I doubt very much that anyone in a jury of peers will take the bank's side. The trick will be to get the lawsuit to go forward.

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  51. Yeah you get a confirmation that you applied for the balance transfer, but that doesn't mean the bank is bound by anything. I looked at an offer I got from B of A on a credit card I have from them it says:

    "Bank Transfers, Check Cash Advances and Direct Deposits are subject to account status, delinquency and credit availability"

    If they decide to lower your credit limit, then obviously they can reject the transfer and its perfectly legal.

    One thing I thought was interesting when reading the fine print was this:

    "If you have not used your account since rejecting any APR increases notification sent to you, use of your Account (including use of any Check Cash Advance) will result in the new APR being applied to your account".

    I suppose that means if you've opted out of any ARP increase but try to use one of their balance transfer checks they may not reject it...instead they'll just jack up your rate! Good stuff. I wonder if the same goes if you accidentally use the card?

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  52. If a balance is a balance is a balance, and a customer like Ryan who normally PIF is going to pay a 3% transfer fee and 1% interest, then BofA should be happy to take his money. He has a stellar credit record and a high FICO, but you almost make it sound like the bank would be foolish to deal with him, like he should have expected this treatment, and worst, that he shouldn't have tried to fight back!

    I understand they can change their minds if they want, but they have to inform you if they do--at least theoretically, the power is not all on one side. This is a business transaction between two entities. I hope Ryan cancels all of his accounts with them and moves to another bank who appreciates him (although if they're his oldest account, he may be stuck).

    Guess this proves Marcus' credo of having more cards than you need.

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  53. "He has a stellar credit record and a high FICO"

    So do millions that end up defaulting. Bank of America just doesn't want to be the bag holder.

    I think "p" above said it best.

    "Guess this proves Marcus' credo of having more cards than you need"

    Or perhaps that you shouldn't depend on credit cards in the first place.

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  54. CM, are you saying that responding to a preapproved offer is a red flag? In my experience preapprovals yield higher CL's and more approvals.

    What sort of risk do they attach?

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  55. Clutch, yeah. That's what I am saying. I have seen a document from either TransUnion or Experian -- can't remember which. But the bottom line is that it's a risk factor that's taken into consideration when people respond to these offers.

    It's been some time since I saw that document, but it's out there somewhere.

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  56. Carnap is exactly right. No balance transfer is guaranteed. It's subject to you being creditworthy at the time that the transfer is contemplated by the bank. In this case, B of A did not like something in Ryan's report. It decided that it did not want to honor the deal. Period.

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  57. and yet no one gives a tinker's cuss about my 29.97% APR. go figure. My heart goes out to Ryan and his family.

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  58. Something doesn't sound right. $12,000 to bridge the gap for a month of missed work?

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  59. Anon, that does seem like a lot for a single month. In fact, that balance would have been even higher when you consider that a monthly minimum had to be paid on the 0% balance that was sitting there.

    I'll ask Ryan why it was so expensive.

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  60. Very interesting, i have a similar story from just this week, maybe we can discuss what they did to a relative of mine who called in and asked a question about an account.

    Good write up Marcus

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  61. BofA cut my lines and closed my card as they NEEDED MORE MONEY... I lost 32k as of their action and I vowed to myself that I would only spend $1 every three months to keep my only account (might say oldest) active.

    They SUCK and I wish they go under soon.

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  62. Big Daddy, shoot me a note at plastic101@gmail.com.

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  63. BOA issued me a 3.99% credit line on my BOA Platinum Card; credit limit was $3,200. I filled out the form and asked for a CL increase and cited that our HHI had risen by $2K. Lo and behold my $3,200 was cut to $2,300 and my BOA Amex card was cut from $12,100 to $6,700! This was done at 5:00A in the morning per the CR as I check my credit card limits every night now. The reason stated by the CR when I called about this was the economic slowdown and everyone was going to be affected who has a credit card.

    So don't call, don't ask for a CL increase online and just pay off your balances!! Darn if you do and darn if you don't. Just be ignorant and become debt-free since they don't want to play fair if you call or apply for credit. You will learn more from CM's website blog here and the posters here anyway than you will by calling any credit card company right now for sure!
    CifIcare

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  64. Now I know why I keep shredding these checks they keep sending me. I also had a CSR trying to make a deposit to my checking from my CL. I think BOA's biggest problem is FIA.
    cocomad

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  65. its a case of there ship is sinking and they are trying to take us down with them!!!

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  66. I love how you guys claim that if you carry a balance you are a default waiting to happen.

    LMFAO!

    I was unemployed for 3 years and still didn't have a late or missed payment. There is always a way, and these credit card companies are going to lose so much money when their good customers pay off the bills and stop doing business with them

    The fact that people like P and Ulyssys would even try and defend them is disgusting.

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  67. I haven't used a balance transfer in ages and won't in this credit climate no matter how much they promote them.

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  68. Chris, WTH are you talking about?! You must be confusing me with someone else. Few people here are as vocal against these vultures as I am. Why don't you go back and read my comments? You may be confused because there is no way on this blog to clearly "quote" someone, so when someone quotes me saying THESE BANKS ARE EVIL, CORRUPT VULTURES WHO ARE SCREWING GOOD CUSTOMERS by copying/pasting, and then goes on to tell me how wrong I am, it looks like their opinion is coming from me.

    Can I get an amen?!

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  69. Actually, these banks taking bonuses after getting billions in bailout funds, then trashing the good customers who gave them all that money, remind me of a "friend" of mine who "borrowed" money from me two years ago.

    She loses her job, comes to me with the whole "I'm starving, living on ramen noodles, can't pay my bills" story. I agree to lend her money. A few days later I read a post from her on a message board saying that she decided to treat herself to a manicure, pedicure and hair coloring at the salon because she was so down... and she deserved it!! Then she goes on two vacations. Yeah, with MY MONEY.

    Life goes on, she gets another job (paying more than mine), moves in with her boyfriend's family (rent-free) for 6 months, and still manages not to save a penny even though her entire debt load is about $1200. We won't even get into how often I continued to finance and help her after that anyway, because I'm an idiot. She also continues to enjoy concerts, vacations, trips to the theatre, etc. the whole time.

    Then when I finally get up the nerve to say "look, you owe me money, yet you're spending on luxuries" and ask for my money back because she seems to be on her feet and I need it, she tells me I'm a bad friend. If I was a real friend, I never would have asked. None of the other friends and family she's "borrowed" from would ask for it back!!! Needless to say, we're not friends anymore because I'M A BAD FRIEND... and I never saw a penny of my money.

    So she cries poverty, I give her money I can't really spare, then she proceeds to spend it freely on luxuries for herself instead of the bills she claimed she couldn't pay. Then when I say "wait a minute, you're on your feet now, you don't need my money anymore... but I do!!!" she punishes me and drops me as if I've been a bad friend, when in reality I'm probably the best friend she's ever had.

    A bit long-winded, but you see what I mean. If you cry poverty, and borrow money from people, don't spend it on luxuries and then punish the people good enough to lend you money by treating them like crap and then dumping them.

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  70. Chris wrote: "I love how you guys claim that if you carry a balance you are a default waiting to happen."

    Even if you don't carry a balance from month to month you can still miss a payment. Same as someone who carries a balance from month to month. Not sure why someone is more likely to default just because they carry a balance.

    What I've always said is that if you carry a balance from month to month (and you're not being assessed a 0% rate), you're paying interest to the card issuers. That's money that could have stayed in your pocket instead.

    What's more, if you carry a balance from month to month, you are at the mercy of these card issuers when they do lower your credit limit to right above your balance -- and max you out.

    As for Ulysses, she hates the banks. She does not defend them. Looks like we just got a simple misquote here.

    All is well in CreditMattersBlog.com land.

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  71. CM, I signed on to my Bank of America CC account last night (as I regularly do now, to check for CLDs) and saw a banner for something attempting to encourage us to ask them for money. And suddenly I got a chill. It hit me that these companies are the enemy now. They're against us. We're locked in a battle with them, where they're trying to trick us into taking their "kind" offers, just so they can blast us into oblivion, and we're trying to guess which moves will protect us and which will kill us. They've literally made adversaries of their customers. It's like they hate us, and we know it, and we're here on the other side of the battle line trying not only to plot our defense to their next move, but figure out when it's safe to come out of hiding.

    Then I saw a commercial for them, and it occurred to me how many of these banks are spending millions of dollars on advertising designed to attract customers. Why?! They already HAVE customers, and they're doing their best to get rid of them!

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  72. U, they have to attract customers. But they want to attract good customers.

    In the middle of everything that was going on with AmEx I applied for a card last summer. I've been perfectly fine with AmEx. No troubles. Great service (whenever I've called). There is still a place for good customers.

    I don't want to take the enemy/ally tack at this point. But it's true that BofA and others are trying to weed out risk. And they're doing it by any means necessary.

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  73. Oh, and one more thing. Just because I am a good customer at AmEx doesn't mean I am immune from their risk-management policies.

    While card issuers are reining in risk, I think the problem is the tool seems so blunt. Doesn't seem like a lot of finesse is taking place. These card issuers seem desperate to unwind what they wound up.

    I'm just trying to take the big-picture view here. I don't feel like a victim and I don't feel as though these banks are enemies. But they are certainly not our friends either. It's a business. That's all I can concede.

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  74. Right now it seems like they're just waiting for us to make "one false move" (which can be something as benign as CALLING THEM) so they can get rid of us. No one who has been a good customer should have to dread calling their credit card company for fear of having their account closed. Your account shouldn't be closed unless you screw up, or you decide to close it. And if they don't think you're good for a balance transfer or a new account, DON'T FRIGGIN' OFFER IT TO YOU TO BEGIN WITH. They need to learn how to do their jobs. Maybe if they were better at it, they wouldn't be in this hole that we "bad customers" have to dig them out of.

    They're "trying to attract good customers," yet we've seen time and time again over the last few months that MANY of the people who are being CLD'd or shut down ARE good customers. In an economic climate such as this, what makes them think they are going to suddenly discover an untapped treasure trove of new customers who are better off than everyone else, and thus will be better customers than the ones they have now? They're dumping good business in hopes of attracting BETTER business... in a climate where practically everyone is WORSE off. Does not compute.

    I'm sorry to disagree, but it HAS developed into an Us vs. Them scenario. We hold the purse strings, yet they hold the credit-score strings. So we're all playing tug o'war. But they're winning, because they get our money AND use it to buy fancy boots to kick us in the tush at the same time. And I don't really like the idea of paying to get screwed (heh).

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  75. Ulysses, when I get to the point where I am afraid to call about my account, I will hang up the cards.

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  76. By the way, I don't like paying to get screwed either. :)

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  77. I just think that they used bad judgment in the past, and they're trying to counteract it by using... worse judgment now.

    If I start paying late, zap me. If I go over limit and stay there, zap me. If I show signs of becoming Egyptian, zap me. If my balances have suddenly ballooned and are staying there, zap me. If I'm running around seeking new credit from every Tom, Dick and Harry but I'm not paying anyone, zap me.

    All of those zappings would show sound risk management judgment, and I wouldn't argue with any of them. But zapping for the sake of zapping is bad business. As is penalizing people for carrying balances by raising their interest rates, and penalizing people for NOT carrying balances by CLD'ing, assessing fees or closing. No one knows which way to turn anymore. Which is more risky now... using the card, or not using it? It's insanity.

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  78. Playing devil's advocate at this point, U.

    If they used bad judgment in the past -- and handed out too much credit -- they should just leave that intact? They've got to pull it back in. There is no easy way to do that. Sure, they look clumsy in the way it's being done, but couldn't it be argued that it does need to be done?

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  79. CM... no. Like I said, zap those who are showing risky behavior. Don't zap people who are doing nothing wrong and nothing out of the ordinary. Don't use a simple phone call as an opportunity to chop someone's credit line to $300 above their balance, when there's NOTHING in their behavior or reports to indicate trouble. Don't make up phony delinquencies, then refuse to reinstate the line when it's proven there is no delinquency. Don't refuse to give answers or explanations. And DON'T take a nasty attitude when you're questioned, as if the customer is some kind of criminal.

    "Clumsy" would be chopping someone's line without telling them it's because (see zapworthy reasons in last post), or waiting a month to send the letter. This isn't "clumsy." This is pointless, senseless and malicious. This is handing out tickets for non-existent infractions because you've spent the month loitering at Dunkin' Donuts and missed quota (stereotype, but you know what I mean). This is basically punishing people who did nothing wrong simply because YOU laid down on the job for so long, and "someone" has to pay the consequences. Even if that someone is innocent.

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  80. What I am suggesting is that we go back to the beginning.

    Some people never should have received the limits they ultimately ended up with. Didn't these people benefit from the credit bubble? If we can agree that the banks did a lousy job of handing out limits as though they were candy, what should be done about it now? Should all of the inflated limits -- if that's what they were -- be left intact?

    That's what I was asking earlier. U, if you were at one of these card issuers, and you recognized that you totally screwed up by giving out limits that never should have been given out, how would you undo it? Or would you?

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  81. I would undo it not by detaining an entire town just to capture one cat burglar, but by using common sense, and only detaining those who show suspicious behavior. If Fred suddenly owns all the things that were stolen, he's a good guy to detain. But by detaining the entire town, you're unfairly pulling in all Fred's victims as well.

    You can't just cast a giant net over all your customers and treat them all like they're irresponsible. These banks have access to all of our credit reports for account reviews. Use them. Identify suspicious, zapworthy behavior. Don't just shut someone down because they happened to get your attention by calling about something benign (which really DOES seem to be happening), pretend they did something wrong, then treat them like criminals who deserve no explanation.

    I'm not saying shut no one down. I'm saying don't just randomly shut people down. Shut the RIGHT people down. The ones who demonstrate risky behavior.

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  82. CM, do I detect in your tone that you believe the good customers ARE being left alone? That only customers who shouldn't be customers are getting AA?

    I'm kinda getting that vibe.

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  83. U, I don't think there is a single cat burglar.

    Also, I think we're talking about two different things here. What I am saying is that a lot of people benefited from the credit-limit bubble. They got limits that were out-sized and unrealistic. I'm not saying these people are risky. I'm just saying that their limits are too high. Underwriters overshot. Now they're bringing the limits back in.

    I'm with you, though, this could be handled a LOT better. These lenders are using a shotgun instead of a pistol. A machete instead of a scalpel.

    I really do hear what you're saying about shutting down only the risky behavior. But we're beyond that. High limits were granted. Those high limits would remain outstanding, under your scenario, until someone became risky. I'm arguing that banks would be irresponsible to their shareholders if they waited for that. When someone becomes risky, they have the potential (because of those high limits) to do some serious damage. That's not something I would want to wait for.

    Instead, I would rather pull credit limits in now -- before the behavior becomes risky. That way if someone does manifest risky behavior, I've contained it more so than if I had just left that huge limit out there.

    Lots of people were granted limits that, in hindsight, seem ridiculous. We weren't complaining then. Seems a little disingenuous for us to complain now that pragmatism has started to take hold.

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  84. Nope. I am definitely not suggesting that good customers are being left alone. But I am also trying to say that this doesn't have to do with good customer/bad customer. I think it has more to do with bad risk management/good risk management. A lot of this stuff, I would argue, doesn't have to do with us per se. I think a lot of this has to do with banks just screwing up. Now they've got no choice but to bring it back in.

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  85. From all the reading I've been doing, I'm seeing sweeping AA with no discernible logic, just for the sake of "doing something." Like baseball GMs who make a bunch of stupid trades over the winter because they've been criticized for not doing anything in the offseason. As if simply taking action means it's the RIGHT action. (Sort of like invading a random country because you were attacked and, well, you had to do SOMETHING!)

    All these people can't be lying. The "culling" seems to be happening with no regard for appropriateness. If your number comes up, you're zapped. This isn't "risk management." It's "throw a pound of spaghetti against the wall, and a few strands are bound to stick." And it's just as irresponsible as handing out credit like candy.

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  86. I feel like a cross dresser right now. Haha.

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  87. CM, I understand what you mean about the rediculous CL's that were granted. I'm reading about people with 8 years history and a $5k line getting chopped to $1k. These people clearly didn't benefit from the credit bubble. Why are they getting AA?

    Currently I have moderate lines, I have received no AA either. Don't know if I am a good customer or just lucky.

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  88. U, I think you're right. But that's what happens. The banks did such lousy underwriting on the front end. Now they've got to do something on the back end. And what they're doing seems illogical. They're hurting good customers as well as bad customers. But that seems to be their only choice right now. If they had something better, they'd do it, right?

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  89. Clutch, now that's just ridiculous to me. You have all of that history, a modest credit limit, and you get hammered. That sucks. And I can't pretend to understand what the banks are doing there.

    Also, we don't even know what good customer/bad customer even means right now.

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  90. Bad customer/good customer IS bad risk management/good risk management. You manage risk by making sure the majority of you customers are good customers, and good risk management is weeding out the bad customers.

    But you do that not by thinking "if we close enough accounts, we're sure to get rid of some baddies in there!!" but by identifying the factors that make a bad customer a bad risk, while keeping your good customers in your portfolio. Not throwing the baby out with the bathwater is Business 101.

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  91. U, that's logical.

    But look at American Express's recent "we'll pay you $300 to leave" campaign. It was trying to get rid of the "bad" customers. But those who could afford to pay might actually be the good customers. Those are the customers that AmEx might have wanted to keep. The ones who can't afford to leave, those are the bad customers AmEx was trying to get rid of.

    I find it difficult to argue on behalf on the banks, by the way. The only thing that make sense to me is that too much credit was extended. Now it is being pulled back in. Good customers and bad customers will be harmed in the process.

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  92. I had been thinking of trying to convert my BoA Platinum to a BoA Amex. Can you imagine trying anything more stupid at this stage of the game?

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  93. Haha. Clutch, yeah. Doing a balance transfer to American Express. :)

    Personally, I'd feel fine calling and converting my card into something I'll use.

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  94. And that's not to say that today's bad customers weren't yesterday's good customers, i.e. not every bad customer got a big credit line from irresponsible lending. There are people whose situations have changed over the years, and now find themselves unable to manage a balance that was no big deal a few years ago.

    Then there are folks like me who might be seen as bad customers now, even though I keep zero balances. Why? Because my income is half what it was when they approved me (yet I have also moved into a much cheaper place and live an obsessively frugal lifestyle). But I'd still be seen as "risky" if anyone checked, because my income has gone down, and my zero balances are simply max-outs waiting to happen in the eyes of any financial analyst.

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  95. Ugh... you topped me.

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  96. U, you might be seen as more risky. Or not. I need to develop some credit-analyst sources. :)

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  97. Speaking of BTs... how stupid has this situation become? I have a paltry $1300 balance with Cap One. They inexplicably raised my interest rate from 6% to 16%. Any sane person would BT that sucker at once. Yet I'm afraid to make a simple move like that in this environment. An innocent, perfectly logical move with not a whole lot of money involved could easily get both accounts closed.

    That shouldn't be.

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  98. (and that is my ONLY BALANCE. UGH)

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  99. U, agree. The smart move is to take that balance elsewhere. That's the right financial move. Period.

    I'm just guessing here but I'd bet you wouldn't suffer adverse action if you moved it. Try moving a $15,000 balance. That might catch someone's attention. Or a $12,000 balance -- like the one Ryan had.

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  100. CM, how 'bout I BT it to my Bank of America card?

    HAHAHAHAHA good times

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  101. "I said, zap those who are showing risky behavior. Don't zap people who are doing nothing wrong and nothing out of the ordinary."

    The basis of everything you're saying is that you believe that they are "zapping" innocent people. But so what? The issue here isn't who is "innocent" it is who is most likely to default. If Bank of America have found that action X is correlated with high default risk why would it not look for X in determining rates/limits? The fact that X is not "wrong" or ordinary is irrelevant. The only things that are relevant are how X is correlated or causally connected (if they are using causal models) to issues that are important to the bank, e.g., default risk.

    "The smart move is to take that balance elsewhere. That's the right financial move. Period."

    Not necessarily. The upfront fee (3~4%) is a killer if you plan to pay off the balance with a year or so. If you pay off the balance within a year the 3~4% upfront fee amounts to an APR of 7~9%.

    Also, if you're trying to reduce your debt the balance transfer game doesn't work very well behaviorally. Once you transfer it and its at a 0% rate there isn't a big motivation to pay it off.

    "have a paltry $1300 balance with Cap One."

    Instead of complaining about it all the time, why don't you just pay it off. Pay $116 a month and it will be gone in one year.

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  102. Darling Carnap, I pay it off at $100 a month (min. payment is about $20). But now that the rate has gone from 6% to 16%, it will take that much longer, and erase many of the gains I've made. So sorry if I am "complaining about it all the time" since... a week or two ago, when the rate was raised.

    Anyway, once again, I don't fit into your expert profile of "behaviorally having no motivation" to pay off a balance. My motivation is to, uh... not have a balance anymore. I decided a year ago that I didn't want to carry any more balances, and thus have not used the card since. I'm not so addicted to debt that 0% would make me hunger for more. I have no "behavioral" problems when it comes to paying off debt. Quite the opposite. I do not want debt.

    The only reason I even have this balance is because of an unexpected medical event that was not fully covered. Not because I bought a bunch of crap. I simply didn't have two grand lying around at the time that I was willing to cough up all at once, and 1)this card doesn't report to my TU, and most of my creditors AR on TU, so it's essentially hidden and 2) the rate was low enough to make it acceptable to finance it. Not now.

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  103. "it will take that much longer"

    It will take 12 payments of $116/month to pay down the balance at 16% or 11 payments of $116 and one payment of $59 to pay it off at 6% increase. Not a big difference.

    "and erase many of the gains I've made."

    This doesn't even make sense. How would a higher interest rate erase gains?!?

    "I'm not so addicted to debt that 0% would make me hunger for more."

    Why do you insist on distorting what I say? My post is right above yours and in it I said this
    "Once you transfer it and its at a 0% rate there isn't a big motivation to pay it off. " I said absolutely nothing going further into debt.

    Furthermore, the point isn't that every single person on this planet with do this, rather this is a real risk psychologically speaking. Paying off debt involves a good deal of psychology, what makes the most sense mathematical may not work the best in the end. Nobody is stoic enough to avoid common human (animal) emotional faults.

    "I have no "behavioral" problems when it comes to paying off debt."

    Which explains why you have a credit card balance of $1,300.

    "The only reason I even have this balance is because of an unexpected medical event that was not fully covered."

    I love when people use this excuse for their debt. Money is fungible, there is no meaningful way you say say the money was for X and not Y. As if you didn't spend money on Y, you may have had it for X.

    The whole point of having an emergency fund is to pay for things like this.

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  104. You know what, dude? You have no idea. NONE. If you did, you'd be sorry you just said all that. And I'll leave it at that.

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  105. To this:

    "I simply didn't have two grand lying around at the time that I was willing to cough up all at once"

    Two reasons this could be true:

    1.) You didn't have the money, in which cause you are leaving beyond your means and should cut costs and build a emergency fund.

    2.) You had it, but didn't want to "cough it up". But why? Were you getting a better risk free after tax return than 6%? No way. So what does that leave? Psychology.

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  106. I'll bet Carnap is a blast at parties.

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  107. "And I'll leave it at that."

    You can leave it at whatever you wish, you are under no obligation to respond to me. But I can assure you I would not be sorry.

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  108. I think this is hilarious! AH Poor Ryan... NOT!

    I think Bank of America did what’s right for the best interest of the bank!

    This dude is obviously sitting on $12,000 of credit he cannot pay off and now he's bitching why the bank cut back his available credit balance? PLEASE!

    The bank did him and the economy a favor!

    People taking advantage of credit is what screwed this economy in the first place.

    Suck it up!

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  109. How amny times have we heard "XXX is what screwed the economy up in the first place", where XXX is any number of things. I'm keeping a list of XXX's and its currently at about 45 competely unrelated things.

    Ah, if it were that simple.

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  110. Ryan should file a complaint with both the FTC and FDIC (BofA's regulators) as the he had suffered an adverse action (denied of balance transfer, reduction in credit limit, etc.) without sufficient written notice explaning the reasons, which is required under Fair Credit Reporting Act. This would typically escalate the issue to the Bank's risk management group, who typically don't like regulators knocking on their doors outside of annual audits.

    One more way to stick it to them.

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  111. This exact thing happened to me (Ryans story) last July when the bottom was just starting to fall out. It was horrendous and I was appalled. The only silver lining was that it has strengthened my resolve to get completely out of debt as soon as possible. Oh, and I'll never give BofA another penny.

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  112. Anon, silver lining. I like that. At least it spurred you on to get that debt paid down. But BofA, it appears, has lost you as a customer for life.

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  113. It seems to me that we should concentrate on regulating the credit reporting companies. After all, responsible people should be able to close down credit with banks that behave badly without worrying about our FICO score. And our credit scores should not be decreased by banks' lowering our credit lines because they fear we are a risk. These credit reporting companies hold an enormous amount of power over us, and should be regulated somewhat. As a landlady, I know they serve a useful purpose, but I don't think they should be unregulated.

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  114. I've had no problems with B of A, this story sounds horrible and i wish Ryan all the best of luck but i've had nothing but good experiences with B of A, and though i bet there are a lot of people who don't like B of A and have the right reasons to not like them like Ryan here, there are a lot of people who don't make their payments and complain anyway and sorry but shouldn't of spent the money if you couldn't afford it.

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  115. I just went through a very similar situation with BOA. Never missed a payment, credit score over 800, etc. and they treated me like a crook. I've never been so upset or insulted by a company in my life. The posts here are correct. BOA's time will come....very soon. I just hope that they are not too incompetent to go away. What a waste of bailout dollars.

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  116. Dennis, that sucks. I hate hearing stories like that. A good customer who gets treated like a criminal.

    Thanks for posting.

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  117. What I'm curious to know is WHY is our government WAITING until JUNE 2010 to put limits on this type of criminal practice that BofA and other companies are doing to the American public!!!!! Why wait till 2010??? Funny how the banks and CC companies are being given "a head start" of sorts. Wonder who is profiting from this wait.

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  118. BofA declined to cancel a balance transfer for 0% APR when I discovered the transfer fee in the obtuse fine print. So I paid them back the full amount within 4 days and now the are waiting for the electronic funds transfer already posted to my account to "clear" before they credit the transfer fee. Anything to try and collect a fee. I want to switch (BofA bought my bank), but the wife likes the convenience and overlooks the risks of doing business with BofA.

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  119. And BofA's new transfer fee is 4% -- up from 3%. Things are getting more and more expensive every day.

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  120. I called to get an interest rate reduction on a credit line from BOA. Not only did I not get the reduction, but the credit line was reduced and the limit on my credit cards was reduced by 90%!!! And I always pay off the balance on my credit card every month! When I called to complain, they told me since I don't carry a balance, it will not affect my credit score! Now with all of the commentary that I read, that is not true. So I have put the cards in the drawer to ensure that I don't use them. I will replace them with cards from another issuer; then send them back!

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  121. This happened to me also. I had asked for a credit line increase online(knowing i might not get it) and this triggered an account review and i lost 20k in credit across 2 cards. When i called to complain they took another 2500 off of one of my cards. So i opened 2 new accounts with Chase and Citibank. Got my credit back and will give them my interest.

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  122. so irritating to read all of this... B of A is like lightening when pulling funds out and like molasses when depositing same day funds... Fees accrue and things get messy...

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  123. I called Bank of America to request a balance transfer and Barbara ask me for the income and how much for the houses. So based on that She said that the transfer will not be available and my $32,600 credit limit will go to $11,600. I told her I made 5 time more money that I make now than years ago. I am a BOA customer for over 20 years and NEVER late, NEVER made a MINIMUM PAYMENTand pay more of the requested monthly bill. I told her that I was going to pay my total credit by the end of the year and that didn’t help. Now all my creditors will think that I put everything on my credit cards. My credit score will go down do to the fact my limit went down. That will effect my credit score and I know that it is over 750. It takes days to F*ck your credit, but years to repair it.
    They can file for bankruptcy and get billions from the government, but they can’t help me out. The economy sucks now and I know that it is going to take years.
    I closed my checking account a few years ago and it is looking like they will loose me completely as a customer.
    If someone knows how to fix these situation, how to file for some kind of fraud from BOA let me know. I feel that we have to do something in order to stop what the bank is doing to us.
    That is why My Account will stay with a credit union. I can’t wait for them to go out of business.
    Arleen
    PS
    Don’t ask for a money transfer from any credit card or they will lower your credit limit.

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  124. I have been a Bank of America customer on my credit card for 11 years. One of my cards had a credit limit of about $5,800. Two days ago, I noted a small fraudulent charge. They said they had to replace my credit card. They did and then proceeded to reduce my limit to $700. At the time, my balance was $659. I use this card for all of my personal expenses and pay off the balance everey month. Now, there wasn't enough money to buy a tank of gas. When I called, I was told that nobody would speak to me about why my limit was reduced and that the reasons would be in a letter. But, they would be glad to put through a request for a credit limit increase. Nobody is reasonable, nobody is frank. The national commercial banks have just become evil empires. I am convinced. I am a CPA with 30 years of experience and this is just bad business for Bank of America. But, Chase, Citibank and AMEX do the same things more or less....<sigh

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  125. I can clearly empathize with Ryan in this situation. I have been a Macy's customer for as long as I can remember. I always paid my bills on time and in full to avoid interest charges. As time went on, Macy's teamed up with Visa which was a nice asset because it gave customers a nice way to use their credit and get store rewards, percentage back, etc. Then they switched just last year to American Express which was yet even better becuase the perks were greater for the customers. Unfortunately, I had far exceeded my balance of available credit due to many medical expenses from an unexpected illness and had no choice other than to use that aspect of the card because the medical bills were thousands of dollars. I cannot rob Peter to pay Paul anymore to pay Macy's between 500 and 700 dollars per month especially without working because I am still not able to enter back into the medical field as of yet due to continued problems. I have already cleaned out my savings account of over 30,000 dollars to cover things. It is down to about almost zero. What I cannot understand is why Macy's wouldn't be willing to work with me without closing my account. They could put me on a 5 or 10 year program at an extremely low rate, but my credit would be greatly ruined despite what "they say". Despite the good customer that I have been, and I should really say excellent customer, they should make some considerations for responsible people. Instead, they put everyone in the delinquent category. There is no reason I should be running to another creditor to try to pay this off at a lower rate. And to think I was going to sign up with Bank of America. Thank God I read this blog.

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