Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Big Brother is watching!

The economy has got us all rethinking how we live, how we spend, our future, our kids future etc., I am a recovering addict, no not to drugs (that was in the 80's), to the credit card system that we have all become quietly kept slaves to!!! Now I've had them for my business's and of course had one or two for my personal usage for years. I had the buy now pay later stamped inside my frontal lobe. I remember last year, as the market plummeted, for the first time ever in my credit card experience my limits were being stolen without my knowledge by the credit card companies I so loved. When I called them nicely to inquire as to what happened, it went something like this:

Nicely Me: Hi, I just made a payment on my card of $4000.00 which should have given me an available amount of $8000.00. Why is it saying that there is nothing available and my credit limit has now dropped from $20,000 to $16,000, I wasn't even maxed out?

Nasty Amex Man: Ma'am, (already hate that) we did a 6 month review (unbeknown to me) and we decided (who?) that your debt to income ratio dropped, so we (again who?) dropped your credit line."

Nicely Me: Well sir, now since my line is dropped will you be dropping my $600.00 a month payment as well? (I thought that was a reasonable question) However…..

Nasty Amex Man: No, Ma'am we sent a letter in the mail informing you of your credit line decrease, and no your payment will not go down right now, it will however go down over time. You need to go ahead and make that $600.00 payment now to avoid any late fees. (I waited, I blinked, what did he just say?)

Nicely Me: Sir, I just made a payment of $4000.00 yesterday towards my bill why do I still owe $600.00?

Nasty Amex Man: Because you now have a new statement and that payment you made was for last month. (wait was he talking to me like an idiot)

Now I hadn't quite mastered my Christianity and this nasty customer service man sent me to the jungle; I lost my mind and let him and Big Brother Have it!!!

See, not only did Amex start this trend but, Citibank, Capitol One and Chase all began to do the same things. All these companies would send you a decrease letter after they dropped your line and the letter would read:

Dear Ms. Wanda because your line's been dropped you now have an over the limit charge with interest attached to your balance. Please Pay now to avoid late fees!

"What's in my wallet?" "NOTHING!" Today, people I have been emancipated from credit cards! Here were just some of my owners! (see photo on right)

My point of this post today is to share something disturbing I heard on the news the other day; which by the way was absolutely frightening! Many of you know that Credit Card companies monitor you (they say every six months) but, what they don't tell you is they monitor how you spend and what you buy. So, for instance if you shop at Nordstrom's or Neiman's and then all of a sudden you start shopping at Wal-Mart it sends up a big red flag! If you one day decide to buy rounds at a bar with your friends, it's another red flag (uh oh she's drinking there's a problem)! If they (Big Brother if you will) believe that you are going through any kind of financial hardship or something is going on in your personal life that is causing you to shop differently, Honey, they will snatch your credit line before you finish making that purchase! Citibank cut my card last year while I was on a cruise in the Mediterranean (I had not traveled outside the Us for like 20years, RED FLAG!) I guess they thought I was leaving my husband and relocating to St. Tropez! I don't think they realized I was doing a T.V. show? They monitor our behavior (see photo below) by what we buy and where we buy; they will adjust our cards accordingly.

I say we start a national campaign; "Put the Card Down/ Let's Go Green" There is no such thing as "If you don't have it now charge it and pay for it later!" Most of us never have it later; we just become slaves to the minimum payment! If you don't have the money right now, walk away, save and buy it later!

Does anyone remember "The Christmas Club!" That's when your mom would start putting money away in the Christmas Club account the day after Christmas and she saved 5,10,20 dollars every week till the next Christmas! My parents, like a generation or two before me (I'm in my 40's) never charged, school clothes, birthdays, holidays or vacations, my parents just put the money to the side, saved and paid with good ole' green cash!

Now, it's not easy going cardless but, neither is kicking any bad addiction. You take one day at a time. You buy what you need and you wait and save for what you want!

What's going on in your wallet? Also, please share your slogan ideas; I'm going to post the best one Next week!


Ms. Wanda


Grand Pooba said...

Oh my husband used to have the problem with the credit cards. I swear he's like a girl when it comes to shopping. He's constantly charging when I hate shopping in the first place. But I just can't keep a balance on a credit card, if I ever use it I make sure I pay the entire bill!

So for my husband's sake, yes, Put the card down!

KC Mom said...

I'm a go green kind of girl myself. We try hard not to buy on credit and if we do, we pay it off right away. We live in an age where everyone wants everything right now and doesn't want to wait to save for it. I hope my kids don't fall into that trap.

Lani said...

Wow!! That is really interesting, I never knew they monitored what you were buying. Luckily I only have one tiny credit card so not too many people are watching me:)

I would love for you to stop by my Blog For A Cure Blog Party, running all week long at Lots of great prizes up for grabs, and it's a fun way to support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society!

Eva Gallant said...

I seldom use my credit cards, and when I do, I pay the balance immediately. My husband isn't quite as disciplined, but he's working on it. I have been a buy it only when you have the cash girl for a number of years!

Eva Gallant said...

I seldom use my credit cards, and when I do, I pay the balance immediately. My husband isn't quite as disciplined, but he's working on it. I have been a buy it only when you have the cash girl for a number of years!

Unknown Mami said...

Great post! I had someone use my credit card fraudulently today and when I talked to the credit card company it was crazy all the stuff they knew about me, which went back to way before I even had a card with them.

I'm drawing a blank on slogans, but I guess I'll go with:

Do leave home without it!

Anonymous said...

AMEN!! I have had the same conversation with Discover when they told me I was past due on my bill because they had changed my statement cutoff date and my payment due date. Oh, I didn’t know this…? Didn’t I read the letter they sent me back in MAY—yes MAY!—telling me that they were making all of these changes to my account?? No, No as a matter of fact, I didn’t even see a letter like that. So, as long as you owe them money, they have you by the little piggy toes! I am paying off all of my debts and hiding my credit cards and only using them for rainy days…and not the current rainy days where I am having to take a day off without pay each month for the next several months…

T. Hansen

Steph Jordan said...

Ms Wanda! I am in the presence of a Diva! Love your style. I'm a fan. Thanks for dropping by and showing me some blog love! SITS yeah!
Have a colorful day!


Oh... I have lots of vids at too.

Life with Kaishon said...

What a great post. I am so glad I read this today. My credit card keeps increasing my limit.... I called and told them to stop the increases. I don't want to be able to borrow more money!

Mocha Dad said...

Good for you. My wife and I use only one credit card and pay it off at the end of every month. I did get my credit cut off once when I took a trip to San Francisco and did some shopping. When I called the company, they said my shopping patterns seemed usual. In a way, it gave me comfort to know that my credit card use was being monitored. I'd hate someone to steal it and use it on a NYC shopping spree.

Amanda {My Life Badly Written} said...

I have always just had the one credit card for general purposes and a low limit emergency one (for a flight to the UK to see my dad if I needed to.)

A slogan for you:

"Don't Slave - SAVE"

MOMSWEB said...

We went green years ago because of credit card debt and let me tell is the way to go. We are still paying on credit cards, but at least we aren't accumulating more debt.

The best plastic surgery I've ever had was on credit cards - well, it's been my only plastic surgery!

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By the way, buy Bluetooth jammer to disable all secret devices in your home or office.

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