Phi Beta Iota: Senator Phi Gramm (R-TX), then Chairman of the Banking Committee, will go down in history as the most impeachable Senator of all time who destroyed the American economy by putting 200 pages of lobbyist legislation into a bill 5-minues before the vote–and all those Senators then serving are impeachable for failing to read the bill (as they failed to read the Patriot Act). There were two criminal outcomes: derivatives, and credit card ursury to 29.9%.
Most credit card companies did not abuse this (e.g. USAA Federal Savings Bank remains the most honest); some like Bank of America went part pay (15%-17%), and some like Advanta became the ultimate in predatory agressive lenders, using the slightest excuse (e.g. a late payment) to violate their promise of 1% for the “life” of a credit transfer, and going directly to 29.9% as they intended all along. The best defense, in our view, is to pay off the principle plus the agreed-upon interest, then demand all further communications in writing. The “system” relies on telephone persuasion to get people to agree to “lesser” interest rates that keep them paying while still screwing them of money the banks have not earned. Do not play the telephone game. There is also a growing movement, led by lawyers naturally, to sue credit card companies for extortion in their use of bad credit reports (e.g. “severely delinquent”) when the credit card companies themselves are both in the wrong, and have failed to respond to written communications from the client.