Monday, March 29, 2010

Chased away, or Cutting the Chase

I hadn't checked my Chase credit card account since (probably) Tuesday and I had thrown a couple of hundred dollars worth of charges (two fillups, dinner and drinks for me and a friend) on it. Checking my the damage this morning, I noticed that the cunts clipped my credit limit from $14,000 to $1,100. They'll probably mail this notice to me in like 2 weeks or so and hope I do something in the interim that allows them to raise my APR to like 246% or something...too bad I don't carry a balance, fuckers.

Chase picked up my account with WaMu's ashes. I don't know WTF WaMu was thinking giving me a $14,000 credit line. I mean, I used it wisely and astutely to get me out of my mess, but that thinking is probably why they are out of business. I've always steered away from Chase because I've heard from many people about what shady crap Chase pulls on them. I even called them up to get them to stop sending me offers.

Aside- getting the offers isn't necessarily bad because the company does a soft inquiry before they send one. The quality of the offer functions as a free bootleg credit report.

In this environment, this type of crap is to be expected when a company acquires your account. It happened to me a few years ago when HSBC acquired my account and soon cancelled it because I wasn't using it. Curiously, HSBC sends me offers every month. They put some effort into those things...they must have a bottomless marketing budget.

Anyway, I knew a chop was coming from Chase- I'm suprised it took them this long- but $1,100? WTF am I, a college student? It disgusted me, and writing the following made me feel better.

Furtively changing account limits shows that Chase credit cards and its parent company have learned nothing from having legislation shoved down its throat. 35 years of having the playing field heavily tilted in favor of the credit card industry has allowed Chase to survive with a flawed business model.

Chase’s actions indicate that it considers existing customers a burden, yet it spends so much money to acquire new ones. Except for cable/satellite TV, I cannot think of another industry that cannibalizes its own customer base.

Perhaps both industries believe they have a captive customer base. But, it is more likely that they are behind the curve when it comes to innovative ways to generate revenue. So, Chase resorts to bleeding its customers dry.

In my own case, when was Chase going to tell me? Were you hoping that I’d make a big-ticket purchase that put me over the limit so you could bleed $39 (or whatever the fee is) out of me? Chase is required by regulations to eventually notify me by mail, but regulation still allows Chase to furtively change the limits as and when it pleases.

It would seem to be far more efficient to make this change and send notice with an account statement, as it would both save money on mailings and possibly save face with the customer. Of course, that would assume that Chase is capable of maintaining a mutually beneficial relationship with its customers, which isn’t the case.

To the merits of the action, I understand Chase’s need to give the perception that it is mitigating risk (I use “perception” because I can see that both JPM Chase and Citi are engaging in the same yield-chasing strategy that has gotten us all into this mess in the first place). My account was acquired at a fire sale from a company that went “belly-up” due to horrid risk management. Not that they (or you) were punished in my case, but I will readily admit that I have no direct use for a $14,000 credit line. Its main benefit is the positive effect on my credit profile.

Nonetheless, cutting over 90% of my credit line indicates that my credit profile- I can see that Chase does soft inquiries every month, so my ever-improving credit standing should be apparent- and account history mean nothing to Chase. Understand that the feeling is mutual; I’ve always known Chase to be the @$$hats of the industry- and, that’s saying something…its actions, while furtive, are hardly surprising.

That is why, even when I needed the credit, I blocked Chase from soliciting me. Having my account acquired by Chase was an uncontrollable circumstance, but I did my part for the relationship by using the card (when I could have been using other cards) and paying off the balance each month…and this day’s treachery is how Chase repays me.

Actually, Chase’s actions come at a pivotal moment for me. Now that I’m almost done unwinding my revolving debt, I will be increasing my autonomous spending. As such, I have been in the process of reassessing my creditors, deciding which ones to purge and which cards to acquire. Chase was always atop the list of creditors to purge. Now it has made the decision still easier.

It says that they will reply within 4 hours. I can't wait. They're actually doing me a favor. I'll be done paying off a bargeload of credit card debt (long process; I may post on how I did it when I'm actually done) later this year and plan to use the cash flow to have a little more fun. As part of the process, I'll be switching up my cards (I have 8) to ones that hook up the rewards...and get rid of those that treat me like shyte.

UPDATE: This is what they wrote:

Dear (Bokolis):

Thank you for contacting Chase.

I am sorry to hear that the service you received did not
meet your expectations. Your satisfaction is extremely
important and your comments are critical to our efforts
for continued improvement. Thank you for letting me know
that we can do better.

If you have any further questions, please reply using the
Secure Message Center.

Thank you,

Email Customer Service Representative

Typing back: c-u-n...I left out, "It took you 15 hours to come back with that?!?" It did, when they promised 4 hours. "Cunt" seemed so much more succinct.

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