PhotoIt seems no good behavior goes unpunished. At least, that's how Pam, of Winder, Ga., feels.

"Right before the credit card law went into effect Citibank raised my interest rate to 29.99% even though we have never been late paying them,” Pam told ConsumerAffairs.com. “When I complained about it I was told that they have to make money someway. They said a lot of people are defaulting on their credit card so they have to raise the interest rate on the ones that pay their bills. With that the payments also raised and now I can hardly pay my bills. If I paid late I could understand but I always pay on time.”

Two years ago the credit card companies did the math and took action to cushion what they expected to be a very high default rate during the recession. A lot of people like Pam, who had a manageable balance with their old rate, now have trouble paying their bills. It's a shame that carrying a credit card balance became the norm among consumers, because it's among the most toxic debt.

Beyond the grave

With intense focus on the bottom line, some companies apparently pressure their personnel to collect every dime that is owed, even if the debtor isn't around anymore. Sharp, of San Antonio, Tex., says his brother was killed in a car accident in May.

“My parents contacted AT&T June 13 to let them know he had passed and would no longer need their services,” Sharp said. “My mom was told by Dwayne, the billing specialist, that she needed to take care of a $321.13 phone bill that belonged to my brother. My mom told Dwayne she would not be paying for the bill and she was then told that the bill would be sent to collections and that my parents would then be held responsible for the bill.”

Sharp's parents aren't liable for their deceased son's cell phone bill, unless their names are also on the account -- and assuming the deceased lad was an adult. Instead, AT&T will probably have to collect it from Sharp's brother's estate. If the estate has no assets, then AT&T is out of luck.

Lawyers have a saying: death relieves all obligations.  

Not a cheap fix

Lexus, of course, is a highly regarded luxury car and many owners are very happy with them. But that's not to say there aren't exceptions.

“I started having 'resetting' of the navigation system in my 2006 RX330 about six weeks ago, with the issue occurring about every 1.5 hours,” David, of Henderson, Nev., told ConsumerAffairs.com. “Now - it happens every 1.5 minutes. The issue does not interfere with the operation of the vehicle, but it is most annoying. Each time the system resets, the audio system is momentarily interrupted but the hands-free Bluetooth connection is killed, rendering it useless. I went to the Lexus dealer for a fix, assuming the problem would be minor - perhaps just a loose connection somewhere behind the dashboard. Surprise! They concluded that the 5-year old factory-installed nav system needs complete replacement at a cost of $1740.”

One of the problems with expensive cars is, the repairs can also be pretty expensive.


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