Just got two letters from B of A regarding my MasterCard and Visa accounts. They are totally changing the regulations regarding their responsibilities or their assistance against fraud with credit cards.
First - no more binding arbitration. Period. GONE.
Second - this one is the exact text from their letter:
YOUR RIGHTS IF YOU ARE DISSATISFIED WITH YOUR CREDIT CARD PURCHASES
If you are dissatisfied with the goods or services that you have purchased with your credit card, and you have tried in good faith to correct the problem with the merchant, you may have the right not to pay the remaining amount due on the purchase.
To use this right , all of the following must be true:
1. The purchase must have been made in your home state or within 100 miles of your current mailing address, and the purchase price must have been more than $50. (Note: neither of these are necessary if your purchase was based on an advertisement we mailed to you, or if we own the company that sold you the goods or services.)
2. You must have used your credit card for the purchase. Purchases made with cash advances from an ATM or with a check that accesses your credit card account do not qualify.
3. You must not yet have fully paid for the purchase.
I suggest all of you read the above VERY CAREFULLY. And think about it...here is what I can see happening -
#1. Any credit card purchase for anything costing less than $50 will not be covered at all - even if the seller is being completely fraudulent. Period. No matter where you buy it, you cannot stop the credit card payment on anything under $50. Did you buy a toaster oven from a local store that turned out to not have any heating elements inside? TOUGH LUCK! Did you just buy a new MP3 player that simply does not work? If you paid $49.99 for it, you are OUT OF LUCK!!! Only if the store or merchant decides to generously refund your money will you get a penny back. Once the store has your credit card charge, you cannot in any way threaten to withhold the payment that was made via credit card. What does this do? It gives merchandisers a license to sell you complete junk and you have absolutely no recourse, as long as the product cost less than $50. Do you think there are a few stores that will start taking advantage of this? YOU BETCHA!!!!
#2. Any product ordered online from a business located out of state or more than 100 miles from your CURRENT RESIDENCE (by all means, do NOT buy something and then move the next week.....unless it is CLOSER to the seller!) at ANY price is TOTALLY NOT COVERED by anything with your credit card. Did you buy a really nice flat screen TV online at a great price and receive something that was a piece of plywood painted black? TOUGH LUCK! YOU FELL FOR IT! And your credit card company will not in any way cover you for this fraud. Buying a new printer online, only to receive a heap of junk used printer from 1992? The kind with sprockets and thermal imprint? Not what was advertised? TOUGH LUCK....YOU LOSE!!!! If you paid $150 for this piece of crap, and it was shipped from an out of state vendor, your credit card company will force you to pay for the entire amount of the bill or you will be listed as delinquent and your credit will be TRASHED.
#3. Love those checks that the credit card people send you, telling you that you can use the check and pay zero interest for the next 9 months??? GUESS WHAT....you have ZERO coverage against fraud with those, no matter where or how much you spend with it. Use that check to pay for a nice new custom leather sofa at a local store, costing $2300, and when they deliver a used, torn, cloth sofa...YOU HAVE TO PAY THE FULL AMOUNT. PERIOD. NO RECOURSE!!!!
And no binding arbitration to settle the disputes. So, if B of A is leading the way with this, I will no longer use their cards. If ALL MasterCard and Visa accounts are going to follow these rules....I will RARELY use credit cards any more (though I am not sure what else I could do...maybe go back to using checks, which can still be stopped! Or Paypal? Not sure....)
Would love to hear from you all about this.