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YouTube credit card rebel gets results

Bank returns interest rate to previous level, 12.99%

By Teresa Mears Sep 21, 2009 5:06PM

Ann Minch, the California woman who took her fight over a credit card rate increase to YouTube, apparently has extracted the concession she sought from Bank of America.


In a new video posted Saturday, she said Bank of America had agreed to return the interest rate on her $5,943.34 balance, which had been hiked to 30%, to 12.99%. The bank's first offer was 16.99%, which she said she rejected.


She said she was contacted by Jeff Crawford, senior vice president of existing credit card accounts, who was polite. He didn't mention either her video or her "taxpayers' revolt" -- which she says is not over.


Minch's first YouTube video, which has circulated widely on the Internet, has been viewed more than 241,000 times.


Arthur Delaney, the Huffington Post blogger who catapulted Minch into the limelight when he shared her story last week, also was the first to report that Minch and Bank of America had reached an agreement. He quoted a Bank of America spokeswoman, who confirmed that the bank had contacted Minch and, "based on additional information we received about her situation, we reached a mutually agreeable resolution."


Minch's case generated thousands of comments from our readers, some supporting her and others saying that her problems were her own fault.


Many readers said they also had had their credit card rates raised substantially, even though they had made all their payments on time. and Business Week wrote last year about Bank of America doubling rates for cardholders with good credit.


New rules that went into effect Aug. 20 require card companies who raise your interest rate or otherwise change the terms to tell you that you can cancel the card and pay off the balance at your old rate over five years. But, your minimum payment may rise.

The new rules are long overdue, according to a reader calling himself Anon E. Mouse: "Where else can you have a contractual agreement that one party can just decide that they no longer wish to be held to, so they just change it regardless of what the other party wishes (besides professional sports), while legally holding the other party to the NEW terms, and the other party has NO RECOURSE???"


But a reader known as Captain Falcon believes Minch brought her problems upon herself, and she should pay up: "The sense of entitlement people in this country have truly baffles me. She racked up thousands in debt and is basically acting in delinquency and some people agree with it?! I'm no pro-business neo-con but people need to stop saddling the card companies, lenders and banks with 100% of the blame and show some responsibility. I'm sick of people, even friends of mine, make stupid decisions then try to blame the bank for their problems. Maybe a 30% rate will teach this lady to abstain from frivolous materialism and show some restraint!"


Reader Mick thinks both sides are wrong: "It is the fault of regulators for allowing banks and CC companies to change rules in the middle of the game. The run-up in interest rates to obscene levels of 30% and more amounts to usury. Some relief may be coming next year but you can bet your bottom dollar that the CC issuers will get all they can before the rules change. As for the woman who is refusing to pay up, she spent the money and her refusal to pay just puts the burden on other cardholders in the form of even higher interest rates. She needs to find a way to pay her debts. Nobody held a gun to her head and made her use the card."


ME Simpson agreed: "What Ann has finally discovered is that credit card companies are natural predators. Carrying a credit card is like being in a cage with a lion. But, that doesn't mean you have to stick your head in its mouth."


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