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Want to Join the Fight to End Credit Card Company Customer Abuse? Here Are Some Suggestions.


Start by complaining to your legislative representatives. Here is the home page for the U.S. House of Representatives, and here is the U.S. Senate’s home page. Let them know that you are sick of not being represented on this issue as a consumer, as a lack of governance and regulatory oversight has favored the credit card industry. Just as important, in contacting your representative, also convey that you are not a “quiet citizen”; you are going to let anyone you can know it, if you feel that you are, or are not, being heard or represented (so follow-up with a “letter to the editor” of your local paper, pointing out that you have asked for the support of the lawmaker in your district whose job it is to represent your interests as well as those of your neighbor who is probably also being screwed by credit card companies).

Complain to consumer protection and advocacy organizations. Most can’t help you deal with your particular “case,” but what they can do and are doing, is providing testimony before lawmakers and speaking with the media about the overwhelming number of complaints that are being heard, and the need to finally do something to thwart the actions of these “pretty-boy and girl mobsters in custom-made suits” who are at the helm of the credit card industry.

  • File an official OCC complaint (even if we prove that the OCC doesn’t really help, that could be a pivotal argument for changing the terms under which the OCC operates, or expanding the powers of other agencies, such as the FTC).

You can let otherwise decent companies and organizations know that they should not be so cozy with the enemy, i.e., credit card companies. In this instance, I am referring to “affinity cards.” An affinity card is one that carries with it two brands, such as what happens when a store, alumni association, charity, airline, or other entity works with a credit card company to market credit cards. So, for example, contact your alumni association president and tell him or her that if your alma mater is going to continue to partner with an abusive credit card company, you will continue to reject any and all pleas for particpation or support (these partnerships are often associated with long-term contracts, so don’t be surprised if nothing changes immediately). Here is a link to information about numerous affinity cards (but most credit card companies have affinity programs besides the ones I have listed, and write the partner). Regardless of the type of affinity program, letting that affinity partner know that it should not tarnish its own brand (by associating with a credit card company that abuses customers) is one very good way t0 get the message across to credit card companies.

It’s been my experience that contacting members of the media can work, too. You can “blast” press releases, but it is usually better to simply write a personal letter or message that is specific to a given journalist’s area of concentration in terms of his or her work. You have to realize that these folks are overwhelmed with communication, however, so don’t be a pest and do not get your feelings hurt just because Oprah or Larry King, or the producer of 20-20 doesn’t call you right back (or answer at all). Meanwhile, the really liberating thing about the Internet and blogging, and streaming videos and podcasts, is that you can still package and distribute your message.

  • WRITE YOUR LOCAL NEWSPAPER(S).
  • Contact other members of the media (especially in your local area, or those whose primary focus is consumer/small business issues, the economy, and other related topics).
  • When you see fair and in-depth coverage in the news about this issue, call, write, email, or post a comment that thanks the responsible journalist.

Don’t use credit cards, or debit cards, when this can be avoided. Even if you pay your bill on time, the transaction fees paid by merchants (e.g., 3% off the top) contribute to the revenue streams of credit card companies (and we all pay higher prices for that, because those fees are passed on to consumers). Let the credit card companies know by your consumer behavior that you do not like their tactics and you are changing the terms under which you deal with them by virtue of switching your loyalty among brands (at least), or if you can, by denying them any business at all. (Do remember to keep your accounts active by charging something from time to time, and paying it off.)

I will also provide information such as the names of credit card company executives and their mailing addresses(usually by posting letters I have written to them), but this is not hard for you to find on your own. You see, most of these companies are public, and that means you are entitled to documents such as annual reports and 10-Ks (search for them here — a government site), which name names and provide addresses, along with other juicy tid-bits such as executives’ salaries or pending litigation. You can do what you want, but I would not waste my time with so-called customer service representatives (including supervisors); about the only thing I’ve personally ever accomplished with these people is to threaten closing a perfectly good account, only to be met with a “go ahead, we don’t care” attitude. Once in a while I talk to someone who is seemingly intelligent enough to grasp a point about stupidity on the part of company policy makers, but they can’t change anything.

  • Produce your own YouTube “protest” videos (or help us, we’re working on them, too).
  • Create a Podcast about the issue, us, or your own insights.
  • CHANGEINTERMS.COM is on Twitter: http://twitter.com/ChangeInTerms (follow us).
  • Keep visiting and commenting on our site (especially, share your own story, if you are willing to tell it), as our site’s founder has done.
  • If you like what we’re doing, trying to fight abusive treatment from credit card companies, tell people about us the “old-fashioned way,” with word-of-mouth.

Finally, a small number of U.S. Government officials have been proactive, on the side of American consumers. One of these is Senator Carl Levin (D), Michigan whose press release issued after a hearing on credit card practices stated, “The credit card industry thrives on the confusion of consumers to both nickel and dime the average card-holder and to commit highway robbery of anyone who slips up even in the slightest.”

Let’s let these Congressional leaders know that we appreciate and support their efforts.

(However, instead of threats to regulate the industry if it does not improve on its own, I think these loan sharks and thugs should be heavily regulated, now.)

Lend a Helping Hand With The Grassroots Efforts on This Site

If you have not visited the “Donate” page yet, you’ll find that I am actually not seeking donations (along with an explanation as to why). However, that doesn’t mean I can’t use some help. It’s an overwhelming job (on top of my “day job”), trying to fight these gigantic credit card companies with their tremendous influence and resources. They certainly have maintained a powerful lobby in Congress, and look where that’s gotten you and me, regular people on “main street” who are clobbered left and right every time we open the mail or turn on the news only to learn about the next bit of shenanigans being perpetrated by these goons. So click here, if you want to help me with the grassroots efforts on this site.

If You Have a Website, You Can Use the Images Below*

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With or Without a Website, You Can Pass Along the eBook Below*

If you share this ebook on the Web, here is a 3-D Image that you can use for How Chase Card Services Stole Christmas


With or Without a Website, You Can Use (and Pass Along) the “Make Your Own Credit Card Company Protest T-shirt Kit” Below*

make your own t-shirt


ChangeInTerms.com has published an issue backgrounder, entitled:

Case Against Chase Issue Backgrounder Report Cover


THE CASE AGAINST CHASE

The purpose of the publication is to allow individuals who are new to the issue that arose when Chase Card Services decided that it did not want to honor a promotional offer as was indicated by a change in terms notice that it disseminated to customers late last year (i.e., beginning around November-December of 2008), to quickly get-up-to-speed and grasp the situation. Please pass this along, especially if you communicate with the media (or correct them if their coverage is less than in-depth or “glosses-over” this issue as a result of simply repeating Chase’s PR “spin”).


* Now I’m starting to feel like I’m writing more and more “Terms” of my own, but your use of these images or other items that are being provided constitutes your agreement with the site policies established by ChangeInTerms.com and/or any notices contained within the products themselves (such as copyright and permissions in ebooks or other documents). If you need to make alterations relative to display size or background color, go ahead (you will probably need PhotoShop, or a similar program); otherwise, please do not alter these files (and do read the complete policy disclosure if you have other questions).

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