Actually, I am not seeking donations, but I appreciate the thought…
There are a number of sites and stories out there concerning individuals who got into trouble with debt, sometimes frivolously, and then used a plea for help to collect donations and escape their respective situations. Some of the sites even have “debt versus donation meters.”
I did go so far as to login to my PayPal account and create a “Donate” button. But, then I decided that would send the wrong message, entirely. The correct message is this: I work my rear-end off every day (including weekends, so I have to say my prayers by bowing my head at my desk). I am not looking for a hand-out, or a “bail-out,” to save me from the obligations that I accepted.
However, I cannot meet terms that are arbitrarily (maliciously, in “bad faith,” would be more like it relative to word-choices) changed in mid-stream, especially since I have done nothing wrong, and the only reason for the changes is that we, as a society, have legalized loan-sharking on the part of abusive credit card companies (and no one else is likely to be able to meet the demands of these extortionists, either).
I don’t have fears, or any problems at all, paying car payments, student loan payments, house payments, or any other payments that I agree to and are associated with a set amount or dependable payment amounts, but the credit card companies — acting like greedy, unscrupulous pigs, as they do — are unique in their ability to try to think up new ways to bully account holders out of their hard-earned money, always demanding (or trapping) consumers such that they pay more, more, more, and then still more.
As I mentioned in my letter to Chase, most of my obligations (including a large student loan — not enough for an executive’s Porsche or high-end Mercedes, but close) are a direct result of years of graduate school, which I undertook at mid-career. In addition to not earning money of any consequence during that time (I did work part-time as a GRA, and later an instructor — basically, an adjunct), I sacrificed several years of saving for retirement, and also my wife had two premature babies (a “miracle” that each of them made it, and with tremendous gratitude to attending medical personnel). Nevertheless, I went to graduate school with the intention of trying to help other people, so “thanks a lot,” Chase, for employing a crew of MBA’s and lawyers whose sole purpose is to think of ways to destroy the lives and personal finances of regular working people, because they can — “for no reason.”
Yes, even if I am now employed as a college professor, I am a person who has a family, and we “live on main street”; I am fairly certain that in terms of socioeconomic status, you could aptly call me “Bob the Professor,” because issues are no different for me than “Joe the Plumber,” Nancy the Nurse,” or most other folks who are terrorized by constant attacks from loathsome credit card companies.
I know, as mentioned in my response to a comment on NPR, I “SIGNED A CONTRACT.” Well, since many of the “contracts” that I signed are over twenty years old, and they have evolved to become monsters from authors who will surely burn in hell (that I never would have agreed to), matters are not so clear-cut. Like many others, I have been trapped by an industry that has evolved from being a provider of useful financial tools to one that has created a system of economic slavery.
Thus, I’d have to say that all I really want is to be left alone by credit card companies in terms of the changes that they attempt to make in account holders’ contracts (including mine). “Fixed” means “Fixed.”
Here are some things that you might consider doing to lend a hand:
Join the fight against credit card company abuses (there is information all over this site about how to do that, but start here);
If you can write informed, well composed (spelling and grammar-checked), “PG or G-rated” research-based posts, articles, press releases, or other content for this site, please introduce yourself to me and let’s see if you and I would like to work with one another, with you serving as a writer/contributor on this site. I am already working, a lot, so I will commit to you now that I will remain passionate about this issue, no matter how many other writers may decide to engage themselves by becoming authors and creating additional content, here. Even if you’d like to be a “guest writer,” as I realize many people already have a full-plate, contact me;
At the present time, I am unable to service the notion of interviews with individuals who may wish to share their stories, as I have done (here, and on the site itself), but if some additional contributors (see item directly above) would assist me with some “load balancing,” it would be awesome to start conducting interviews. In the meantime, I appreciate the comments being submitted to this site in response to posts;
I’d also like to form an advisory board. I do have a lot of informal advisers now, but it might be a good idea to make it “official.” After all, I constantly tell my students not to “go it alone” and to “reach out,” so I should practice what I preach here on my own site;
If you are a qualified legal or accounting professional and you have ideas, let me know;
If you are a PR expert, and want to do a bit of pro bono work (like I am in effect doing here) on behalf of this cause (exposing the abuses of credit card companies, and fighting for real change), contact me;
If you have Web programming skills (SEO, WordPress, PHP) — I need help with this site and others to do good things;
Ditto the above, if you have graphic design skills;
Buy a T-shirt, bumper sticker, or other item at my CafePress store associated with this site’s messages. They get most of the money, but this would do two things: 1) spread the anti-credit card company abuse message, and 2) help me pay for the basic expenses incurred while engaging in this fight (such as hosting and bandwidth, and if budget permits later on, press release distribution services and other attempts to “get the message out”) not just on my own behalf, but for the sake of anyone who is being brutalized by this industry’s constant change in terms notices (they are most certainly not written in your favor, unless a bank is being forced to do so, such as after a class action lawsuit);
I will also be creating “viral marketing” materials that others can use and circulate to support a grassroots effort, such as the ChangeInTerms.com, “Tired of Credit Card Company Abuse? Make Your Own T-Shirt — Complete Kit With Templates” product (that way, if you don’t want to or can’t really afford to use the CafePress store, you can make your own; it can also be used to send customizable messages to anyone you like: credit card companies, Congressional representatives, journalists, you name it!);
Link to this site with a text link, in your regular email correspondence, a post on your own site, blog, or in a forum in which you are a member (do not engage in sending or submitting SPAM in any form, however), or by using the images I provide to signify you support the cause of ending credit card company customer abuse;
Helping cardholders connect, stay informed, and turn the tide of the abusive practices of Credit Card Companies, is what we are all about. Join us in the fight, stay informed, and connect: Follow us on Twitter;
Tell a friend about this site, and the cause I am (hopefully “we” are) fighting for;
Send a note providing moral support;
Just be nice to people in general.