If you missed Nightline the other night, you missed a good one. However, have no fear. The video is available at ABC's Web site. I was truly disgusted by the stuff I saw and heard. The two employees, even if they were rogue employees, irritate me to no end. And it makes me rethink this Credit Card Bill of Rights stuff. Maybe it truly is needed. After watching the Nightline show, I'm thinking that it likely is.
Do I think this stuff happens? Yes. Do I think it's widespread? No. But when you give these CSRs incentives to move direct deposits and balance transfers (so that they can win internal contests), you get these kinds of tactics.
Here is a quote from the Nightline interview:
"I was essentially finding a way to force you to take $100,000 or whatever, interest free, thinking that you're getting a good deal, and knowing that it's unlikely at the end of the initial period you're not going to be able to pay it back, and you're going to be in debt for the rest of your life."
But it gets worse. According to the former MBNA employees, the card company would decline the credit card for the slightest reason. When the customer called in, the pitch was on:
"You could be in a restaurant and your card gets declined, what do you do? You have to call in," Colombo said. And that meant another chance to sell. "Sorry about the dinner, we'll fix it so you can pay for the dinner, and by the way, you have $20,000 available so let's find a way to get it into your checking account."
There is more, but you can watch the entire Nightline video for yourself: Are Credit Card Companies Dealing in Debt?
See also CNN's story: Ex-bankers on pushing customers to rack up debt
And the St. Petersburg Times weighs in as well: Credit card customer service reps' tales feed fire