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Friday, July 12, 2024   

Beat the banks by threatening to call the Better Business Bureau
by Scott Bilker
Scott Bilker is the author of the best-selling books, Talk Your Way Out of Credit Card Debt, Credit Card and Debt Management, and How to be more Credit Card and Debt Smart. He's also the founder of DebtSmart.com. More about and DebtSmart can be found in the online media kit.
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Scott Bilker

Heidi wrote to me about her problems with a bank that was charging her a ridiculous interest rate of 33%. She had called the bank and was not able to do anything. I suggested that she transfer her balance. She called them back and threatened to contact the Better Business Bureau.

It worked!

What follows are the details of my email correspondence with Heidi.




I was reading your article on how to call a credit card company and asking them lower the APR. I did this on one of our credit cards, which we have been customers for 8 years, no late payments. (Though our overall credit rating is somewhat medium, not excellent--not bankrupt.)

When I called, they told me that the computer generates a letter offering me a lower apr and they cannot lower the rate. In the 8yrs that I was with this company, we have never received such a letter.

I also just realized that I have a variable rate, which now we have a 33% APR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I was young when I opened this account not realizing a variable rate was on this offer.

What can we do now?

Thanks in advance.




I would punish them by transferring your balance to another card! Don't cancel the original account. Let them BEG you to come back with low rates in the future.

Pursue low-rate cards! Do that right now! Because you have debt, many banks will find you attractive in that they know they can profit from your business! You can find a list of the low-rate cards I recommend at: http://www.debtsmart.com/cards



Hi Scott,

Well, just to give you an update, I called the credit card company again and demanded to speak to higher authorities. With luck, I finally got up to the corporate office and spoke to a very nice woman, who I asked, "Would you pay 33% interest on a card, honestly?" She agreed.

Before I got to this nice woman, I had threatened the other supervisors that I would be calling BBB and reporting them for this action. This is when I was transferred to corporate office.

Amazing, huh? With a little threat of calling the BBB, they had no problem connecting me to higher authorities.

Now, I am waiting for this woman to review my account, which they will find in perfect condition. She said she would call me back within three days. Hopefully, they will lower my interest back down to something more reasonable.

I hope I am not bothering you with all of this, but you seemed to be truly interested.





That's great! I never even thought to threaten the banks with a call to the BBB. VERY WELL DONE! You are DebtSmart! I will have to share that with my readers.

Please keep me posted with the results.




Got a response today!!

Well, the credit card company DID lower the interest rate to 23%. Yes, that is still not great, but it is a far cry from 33.1% that I was paying.

Believe me, I am going to pay off this card as fast as possible and get rid of this card. It's amazing how a little threat of saying "attorney, and/or Better Business Bureau" made such a difference.

You may let your readers know how I went about doing it, but keep in mind that I did it in a very pleasant way.

I have to laugh though at your comment that I'm debt smart. NOPE, I'm far from that, but realize that I would have gotten nowhere paying that kind of interest rate. I just wish there was a way to pay this high one off faster. I realize doubling payments would help, but that would almost be my mortgage payment!

Thanks again for your encouragement!




Great! Glad to hear that it worked!

You still are DebtSmart. Believe me when I say that many people are sitting on rates of 33% and doing NOTHING! You did something! Hey, you should still look to transfer your balances to a lower rate.

Keep up the good work!




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