In the last two years lot of consumers have seen their credit card accounts closed or their credit limits reduced, as banks tried to reduce risk exposure. Mike, a Barclay’s Bank customer from Scottsdale, Ariz., said he was surprised when his credit limited dropped, since he had never missed a payment of ever been late. He said he rarely used the card and paid the balance within two weeks.
“I then called and inquired why they were reducing my credit line by 60 percent,” Mike told ConsumerAffairs.com. I was told that my account fit into a ‘certain risk category,’ resulting in the decrease. I asked when the last time I was late or had missed a payment had occurred. ‘Never’ was the response. I asked what my balance was. ‘Zero’ was the response.
In the credit card industry, a customer like Mike is generally known as a “deadbeat,” because he has access to credit but the credit card company makes no money from him. In the first scary days after the credit crisis, Mike’s account might have looked good to the bank. At this point, however, the bank may be trying to generate more revenue and wants to assign some of that credit to a consumer who carries a balance, and thus pays interest. In other words, Mike may be being punished for his good credit management.
Remember the Alamo
One of our readers, identifying himself only as “U.S. Traveler” from Miami, Fla., is having a spat with Alamo Car Rental at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport.
“When I returned the car the day of my departure, I had to rush to catch my plane,” he said. “I was instructed to put the car in a parking lot belonging to Alamo where no one was available to greet me and take the car from me. I had to go to the main counter inside the airport to return the key. I was able to barely catch my plane. Two days later, I receive an email from the manager of the rental office at Paris Charles de Gaulle stating that they could not find the GPS unit in the car and, if I do not have it with me to return it to them, they had to charge me $300.00.”
This is another reminder that it is risky to leave your rental car in a lot without having an attendant check you in. Something happened to the GPS between the time our reader dropped it off and the company checked it in. Alamo has no option except to hold our reader responsible. It may not be fair, but that’s the way it is. Our advice? If you are returning a rental car, it’s another good reason to get to the airport in plenty of time before your flight.
Cynthia, of Goshen, Ohio, received $80 in Kohl’s Cash on a purchase at the department store, and a few days later, returned to the store with a Kohl’s coupon for 20 percent off her next total purchase.
“I gave the 20 percent coupon to the cashier upon checkout and she asked me if I had any Kohl's cash and I said yes and handed her two Kohl's cash coupons worth $80.00,” Cynthia said. “She took the $80 Kohl's cash off first and then applied my 20 percent off coupon to the balance. I questioned why the Kohl's cash was taken off first before discount was given and she said she didn't agree with it either but it was company policy.”
Cynthia says he thinks this is unfair, and she may have a point. In her mind, the Kohl’s Cash should be treated the same as real cash. The store obviously sees it differently, and it’s somewhat surprising that they would allow both the Kohl’s Cash and the coupon to be used in the same transaction. Often times you’ll see a disclaimer on a discount promotion that says “not valid with other offers.” Chances are, the policy is spelled out in the terms and conditions of the Kohl’s Cash. If they aren’t, Cynthia should press her case, or in the future, not use Kohl’s Cash and discount coupons in the same transaction.
Hard to escape
“My wife and I were looking on the Internet for vacation deals and went to Travelocity to check prices on a trip,” John, of Wilmington, N.C., told ConsumerAffairs.com. “Now we have a $210 charge on a debit card from Simple Escapes because of a pop-up ad that opened on Travelocity’s website.”
Simple Escapes is a travel discount “membership” program marketed by Vertrue, and this particular program drew widespread complaints about unauthorized charges in the mid 2000s. John should have been clearly informed that he was entering into a membership program that would result in a charge on his credit card. If he doesn’t think he was, he should contact North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper.