Tuesday, April 26, 2011
A Big Wag of the Finger to BoA
Bank of America is officially on my Bitch List.
Mark and I have been working VERY hard at getting our finances in order. Actually, we've been working very hard at it for quite a long time, but we're finally to the point where we are SO close to being completely debt-free (not counting our mortgage of course :) ) that we can taste it.
Recently, we paid off a credit card which I had through Bank of America that had a small balance from paying a few medical bills when I was pregnant with Jack. I don't know why we chose to put some bills on this card, but it was one of those, oh we'll put it on here and then pay it right off and of course we never did because that's how the blood suckers get you!
I opened this particular card to help establish credit when I was 18 years old. I have hardly ever carried a balance on it, but rather paid it off every month. At one point they even cut my credit line considerably because they said they had to rein it in since it wasn't being utilized. Seems really dumb, and unnecessary, but whatever even though I think it's crap I wasn't using it anyway and I guess it's their prerogative.
So, anyway, back to why I'm angry - We paid off the balance a couple weeks ago and today we see an alert on Mint.com (GREAT tool, by the way!) for an $59 annual fee assessed by Bank of America.
My first response, Uhm, NO! I've never had an annual fee on any credit card and I don't intend to start now. So I immediately give them a call expecting that surely they'll be able to work with me on this. I've had the card for nearly 7 years now and I've never had a late payment.
Which, side note: therein lies the true problem I'm TOO good of a customer. I pay my bills, I rarely carry a balance and if I do, it's not a large balance, they just aren't making enough money off of me.
Our conversation goes a little like this:
Me: I'm calling to find out why I have an annual fee on my card now.
Bloodsucker Representative: Well, we have the right to change your terms of service and we did. Your current interest rate of 11.75% is below fair market value so to recoup our money we need to assess an annual fee of $59.
Me: Is there any way to waive the fee?
Me: Is there any way to raise my interest rate and therefore waive the fee?
Me: So... there's no way I can get around the annual fee? I'd really like to keep the card.
BR: No. You can choose to close the account if you don't want the annual fee.
Me: Okay, I'd like to close the account. How do I do that?
BR: Okay. I can do it for you right now.
No negotiation. No compromise. They didn't even pretend like they cared to keep me as a customer. Actually, they seemed quite overly anxious to dump me.
I'm actually more annoyed with them about their crappy customer service regarding this issue than I was about the annual fee to begin with - although I'm fairly upset about that as well.
I completely understand the way credit card companies work and that they exist to make money. And just like any other large corporation, they're not there to make a living wage, they're there to make LOTS of money. More, and more money every year, so they're always going to be searching for a new fun way to screw over their consumers in order to squeeze another dime out of their pockets. But how they're going to make any money off of forcing customers to leave them is beyond my comprehension. While I was a customer they at least had the potential to make money. Now they don't. I realize I'm small fish to them, but if that's how they treat all their small customers it surely must add up to something!
So anyway, I did choose to close the account. I'm frustrated that they put me in that position and I know it might have a negative impact on my credit score, but I'm not going to be bullied into paying a credit card company $59 annually to keep a $2000 credit line open for me. Sorry, it's just not worth it. I still have one other card with no balance on it and if I'm interested in having a second, which I'm not at this time, there are plenty of companies out there with better customer service and no annual fee.