Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Bank of America - Their attempt to change terms without an opt-out

About a month or possibly more ago (I'm getting older, so I don't remember details) my wife and I got a lovely letter from Bank of America informing us that the interest rate on our debt consolidation loan was going to float with the prime rate.  It had been fixed at a particular interest rate.  The really neat thing about this letter is that there was not opt-out option.  So we were forced to accept the terms.  We called.  We complained.  But the answer was that's the way it is.

Today we get a new letter from Bank of America.  It says the following:

Dear (insert our name here):

We recently notified you in October (I guess that's when we got our fun letter) of a change to your Account Agreement describing how the annual percentage rate on your account would be calculated using a variable rate formula tied to the U.S. prime rate.  After careful consideration (and a lot of ticked off customers), we have decided not to implement this change.  As a result, your account will retain its current annual percentage rate and remain unchanged.

We started this loan several years ago with MBNA.  MBNA was acquired by Bank of America.  Many years ago MBNA tried to change our interest rate from a fixed to a variable, but there was an opt-out clause.  We decided to opt-out.  And things were good.  So when we get this change in terms even after we had opted out, it really left a sour taste in our mouths.  It did not seem like they could legally change our rate like they did since we had previously opted out of going variable.  I thought about complaining to the Consumer Protection Agency and others, but it just fell by the wayside.  I don't know who complained or what was said.  But to whomever helped change Bank of America's heart, thank you.  I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I know the banks have suffered incredible losses in the last couple of years.  However, the banks have helped create the mess they are currently in by giving out easy money.  We have never been late on our payment.  And it is frustrating as a customer for the banks to ignore a customer's past history and literally mess with you like we're an unlimited resource ready to be tapped out by fees and interest rate hikes.  Mr Banker, I'm not the problem.  I pay my bills on time.  Go hose those that aren't paying their bills on time.  Soak them with the punitive rates and fees, not me.

One last word...  I have a long, long, long memory.  If you look at the cars I drive, you will notice that my cars are imports, except for my larger vehicles.  Why?  Because when I was a kid, I can remember all the crummy cars that came out of Detroit.  There isn't a single American car that my parents had that I liked or even worked properly.  Not a one.  And so for the last 20 years I've avoided American cars like the plague.

Mr. Banker, I have a long memory.  If you want me to continue to do business with you, you had better treat me right.  If not, I will take my business elsewhere.  There is one bank (Chase) that I will never do business with ever again.  Bank of America, do you wish to join that club as well?

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