Rant: Beware of Misleading Credit Card Offers
Forgive me, but I really need to rant about shitty customer service. I’ve been burned bad by misinformation from ignorant and/or misleading reps. This time however, it involves our credit card company, Bank of America.
We received one of those offers where we can take a $10,000 loan for 6 months with no APR. Since we needed a short term loan we thought, “Hey, we’ll take that, use part of it, put the rest in the bank, earn interest on it, then pay it back in 6 months.”
Does a six month interest free loan of $10K sound too good to be true? We thought so. So we called customer service and double checked. We ran through various scenarios including asking,
So if we take this loan, and say make $1000 in purchases using our credit card, at the end of the month, if we only pay $1000 towards our credit card bill, we won’t have to pay interest, right?
So we don’t have to pay the entire balance each month which would include this $10K loan, right?
It’s a good thing we double checked today. It turns out in the fine print, “which we read multiple times”, there was this opaque clause that now makes sense since I know what it means:
By making a balance transfer and/or using these checks, you understand that future payments will be applied to Promotional balances prior to any existing or new regular balances on the account.
So simply put, if we take the loan, and make $1000 in purchases, and then pay $1000 towards our bill, we’ll now have $9000 as an interest free loan and a $1000 balance generating tons of interest.
Now you might say that’s what you get for not reading the small print. Perhaps. But it bothers me that the amount of effort they put forth into making the message clear that this is a “0% Promotional APR for 6 months!!!” dwarfs the effort to make the big catch very clear.
It was obvious to me that they want consumers to take the loan and then not be able to pay it off at the end of 6 months because they want interest paying customers. But I figured we’d be safe if we paid it off in 6 months. Not so. What infuriates me is that we called customer service and they egregiously misinformed us (which is a pattern with some other financial institutions I’ve dealt with).
In any case, we’ve figured out an easy way to take advantage of this offer and get a $10,000 loan free for 6 months. Simply take the loan with no balance on the card and stop using that credit card for 6 months till you pay it back. Use another card. I think it’d be great if thousands, nay millions, of people did just that and sent a big “Fuck You” to B of A. But that’s just me being vindictive. Not to mention I’d have to get a Slashdot sized crowd to read this. ;)
Ok, rant over. Thank you for your patronage.