I got my bill from Discover Card and Discover acts as though it is my problem that they have charged me for things I did not authorize. They then say the only way to be safe is to close this account and open a new one (a waste of my time). I would think it would be easy to not charge customers from fraudulent places but Discover seems to think this is beyond them. Once I was transferred to the fraud person (the 3rd person I had to speak to) they said they frequently saw fraud reports for this company and so it would most likely be fixed without a problem. They then said ok, we can setup a new account. I told them that I told the previous person if Discover didn’t fix this without closing the existing account I would take my business elsewhere so no new account was needed.
What do I want from a credit card? I want to be able to use it to buy what I want. I want them to not charge me for things I don’t authorize. If I tell them I have been charged for something I didn’t order I want them to think that is a problem and fix it. I want good customer service which basically boils down to being able to reach them on the phone without wasting a bunch of my time and having the person that answers treat me like a valued customer they want to serve instead of acting as though I was bothering them. Their failure (charging me for things that I did not authorize) was wasting my time. Those are the important factors. Now if I can get a cash rebate too, great. Anyone have suggestions? Since I don’t carry a balance I don’t care what the interest rate is.
It is fairly amazing how horrible the customer service is for credit cards given the huge profits the companies make. The main thing I want is one that treats my time as valuable and does everything it can to avoid wasting my time.
Update (from the Washington Post today): Americans Can’t Do Without Their Credit Cards, But the Card Companies Are Another Matter
Unfortunately the developed world created policies of huge farm subsidies. We have commented on the bad economic practices before: Washington Paying Out Money it Doesn’t Have – More Government Waste – Pork Sugar – USA Sugar Industry Tax on Consumers. Here is an interesting article on the benefits New Zealand has enjoyed by eliminated that bad practice. Farming without subsidies? Some lessons from New Zealand:
Related: New Zealand’s hardy farm spirit
At the bottom of the education scale, the picture is reversed. Among high-school dropouts, the divorce rate rose from 38% for those who first married in 1975-79 to 46% for those who first married in 1990-94. Among those with a high school diploma but no college, it rose from 35% to 38%. And these figures are only part of the story. Many mothers avoid divorce by never marrying in the first place. The out-of-wedlock birth rate among women who drop out of high school is 15%. Among African-Americans, it is a staggering 67%.
Does this matter? Kay Hymowitz of the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think-tank, says it does. In her book “Marriage and Caste in America”, she argues that the “marriage gap” is the chief source of the country’s notorious and widening inequality. Middle-class kids growing up with two biological parents are “socialised for success”. They do better in school, get better jobs and go on to create intact families of their own. Children of single parents or broken families do worse in school, get worse jobs and go on to have children out of wedlock.
“It is clearly unsustainable,” Greenspan told a conference in Madrid today by satellite. “There is going to be a dramatic contraction at some point.”
Sure seems like a fair point. Over the long term China has great potential but a dramatic decline in stock prices seems a reasonable thing to fear.
The article is definitely worth reading, read the “related items” also – The Poverty Business from Business Week:
Why? Mainly due to financial illiteracy. Except in the most extreme circumstance (and then for a short time only) it does not make sense to borrow (given the current interest rates) at an interest rate above 15% (and other than large purchases – car, house… borrowing is normally unhealthy for your financial well being). If you want a new computer, new TV… “rent to own” effective interest rates are horrendous. Just save the money needed and then buy what you want. Borrowing worsens your financial position and since most making such bad financial choices already have a very weak financial position the impact is even more negative. One goal of this blog is to help people become financially literate, so they can improve their economic position by making intelligent financial choices.
One very simple but powerful personal finance tip: save money to buy what you want, don’t borrow to buy what you want. And a related tip, save money to act as an emergency fund. If you don’t create an emergency fund it is far too easy to find yourself in need of emergency funds and then being forced to borrow and getting yourself trapped in a downward spiral.
Example 30 year mortgage rates (from myfico.com – see site for current rate estimates):
|FICO score||APR||Monthly payment*|
Amounts shown for borrowing $400,000 and rates as of May 7th. For scores above 620, the APRs above assume a mortgage with 1.0 points and 80% Loan-to-Value Ratio. For scores below 620, these APRs assume a mortgage with 0 points and 60 to 80% Loan-to-Value Ratio.
FICO scores are determined by your:
- Payment history – 35%
- Amounts owed – 30%
- Length of credit history – 15%
- New credit – 10%
- Types of credit used – 10%
But elsewhere, in dealing with insurance companies, the nation’s estimated 20 million self-employed are on their own. In Virginia, a state with relatively few controls on insurance rates, Clay Williams, a 59-year-old self-employed real estate agent in Falls Church, said the cost of health insurance for himself, his wife and two sons, had tripled in six years. After it ballooned last year to $1,956 a month, he angrily refused to renew.
Fixing the health care system is not easy. But it is broken and doing serious harm to the economy and individuals and needs to be fixed. Post on our management improvement blog on fixing the health care system. In addition to the obvious harms the broken system discourages many people from taking on the challenge of self employment. It also greatly increases the friction in the economy for moving between jobs.
Live From Omaha: The Berkshire Hathaway Meeting a nice series of posts at fool.com, including:
On a final note, he gave a not-too-surprising suggestion to always look a stock in terms of the whole company. So, for example, if you’re thinking about buying GM (NYSE: GM) at $30, he said, you should consider whether you think the entire company is really worth $18 billion.
I wish someone would post a transcript or at least more details. If you know of a good source, please let me know.
After all, rules of thumb are shortcuts; they’re solutions that are supposed to work for the “average” person.
Good advice. The rules of thumb can help you get an idea of the ballpark for a fictional “average” person in general. But your particular situation is different.
Dragged Down by Debt by Jane Bryant Quinn (Newsweek broke the link so I removed it):
Of all the predatory loans, “exploding mortgages,” with interest rates that wing up after two or three years, are probably the most toxic and have made the most headlines. They’re typically granted to borrowers classed as “subprime”— those with credit scores under 620 (a 900 score is tops). But these are the very people least able to handle monthly payments that suddenly double or triple.