As I angrily cruised the web to find the First USA Visa home page I
appalled to see how many trusting souls have been suckered in and then
screwed by First USA Visa. I'm a bit embarrased by how long it took me
to notice what was going on, but I feel compelled to help spread the
word of warning regarding this unethical, unscrupulous company.
The hook they (First USA) used to get me was an introductory rate of
5.9% for 6 months which was to adjust to 11.99% FIXED thereafter. I was
foolish and did not pay attention to the APR field on my statements each
time I faithfully made my monthly payments. This last month, I happened
to glance down there and had the shock of my life - it was 23.42%!!!!!
I pulled all of my statements of the last two years and found the
1) The introductory APR only lasted 4 months, NOT
2) It vascilated between 11.99 and 13.00% for next 7 months
3) It went to 18 - 19% for the next 7 months
4) Then it shot to over 24% and peaked at 24.93% in December
I transfered my balance from a credit union Visa account which had a
fixed (yes, it really was fixed) rate of 13.5%, thinking I was making a
smart move to drop down to a 11.99% fixed rate. What a mistake!
When I contacted First USA regarding this issue, they said that they
have the right to raise the rate as they see fit - as an example, in
cases where a customer has not been making regular monthly payments. I
asked them to point out to me where there was just cause for raising my
rates (knowing there was none). The response was that there wasn't
anything specific that could be cited. I gave the "supervisor" with
whom I was speaking two choices 1) Adjust my rate back down to their
originally claimed "fixed rate thereafter" of 11.99% or 2) I will
transfer my balance to another company. This "supervisor" calmly said
they would have to watch my account for the next 6 months, at which
point they might consider negotiating a lower rate. My account has
NEVER been delinquent and lately I've been paying double and triple the
amount of the minimum payment due. I told them the the account will be
closed and they won't be getting any more revenue from me.
I want, and plan to do anything I can to warn other honest people
there of this unethical company, and (if it is at all possible) to see
that they are punished in any way that is legally possible.
I also want to thank you for taking the initiative to set up this web
site. If there is anything I can do help further this cause, please let
I'm glad I came across your site...
I am a graduate of Northeastern University in Boston, and I recently
an invitiation to sign up for a First USA Platinum Visa Card.
I filled out the application and sent it away. Two weeks later,
I got a letter
declining my application (I will be checking my credit report with the agency
they used because another agency had mistakes on mine).
The funniest thing, to close this letter, is that today I received ANOTHER
application for the identical thing today.
I may just write to Northeastern U. and tell them to stay away from these people.
Feel free to use my name. I'm not afraid of these people.
Go get 'em!
In addition to the myriad complaints about credit and interest-rate
practices, you can add the fact that First USA not only calls you
repeatedly with their own telemarketing pitches, but sells your private
information (including unlisted phones numbers) to a broad spectrum of
telemarketing harassment groups that will drive you NUTS! I have
received as many as six phone calls in one week from telenuisances who
admited to obtaining my unlisted phone number from First USA.
I'd like to hear from anyone with suggestions on how to combat the
harassment caused by First USA and others who disrupt my family life,
dinners, business meetings, etc., etc. The telephone companies are
partners in this harassment (you cannot block caller ID on toll-free
calls. etc.) so there is no help there. Can we get the home phone number
of the CEO of First USA and have someone call him at dinner time every
night for the next ten years?
I read your article about first USA and found it to be so close to what my husband and I experienced in our mortgage loan. We recently tried to get a remodeling loan. We had an owner contract and had to go through a bank to qualify, so we did and ended up with BankOne. When our contractor wrote and told them that the way they wanted us to proceed in remodeling was too expensive and would take longer the company sold our contract to another company Nations Credit. By doing this the payment doubled and the length became longer, and interest rates were higher. This company did not send any closing papers and sent no statements for 3 months. We were told to just send our payments to an address that was not familiar to us and didn't even have the company name on it. We did not send the payment and kept trying to contact the company(no answer). Before we knew it the second company was harassing us for being 3 payments behind and threatening forclosure. We have had our home for 7 years and never had this problem. The end result is that we have filed for bankruptcy after sending this company double payments for the past 3 months and even sending and extra 1500.00 that we thought we were caught up, just to find that this only paid the interest and we were sitll 3 payments behind. We are loosing our home now and I only hope that you can let people
know that this not only happens to credit cards but to those hoping to get loans on the equity in their homes. We never got the money for our remodel, and it was explained that the money we asked for was approved but when they started taking off for points on our credit and closing costs and reimbursment for appraisers(which we had to pay cash for) were deducted there was no money left for the remodeling expences. It's a good thing our contractor wanted paid first to start because after the banks got done with us there was no money. For the first time in my life I don't feel bad about renting,(something we have never done in our 20+years of marriage). I don't like leaving my home but if I can help others think twice and look deeper before they refinance, then I will have learned my lesson. We are simple people with 6 children and one income. All we wanted to do was make our 3bedroom home a little larger and someone took us to the cleaners. I know this is far from your credit card scam but I felt it fell into the same sort of tricks that
financial agencies play on unsuspecting consumers. If we don't start telling our all too embarrassing stories more people will be lining their pockets with our all too hard earned money.
P.S. All of this banking was done over the phone which made it easier to do but more costly on our part. My husband works nights and with the kids going bank to bank was not something that we could do. Thankyou for listening and having a page that lets us know that there is something that we can do to stop these people. Keep up the good work and best of luck in nailing these people.
This is a formal compliant of violations of Regulations E and Z related
to my Visa account 4417-1222-xxxx-xxxx in the name of xxxxxxxxxxx at
the address above.
The violation of Regulation E
The violation of Regulation E concerns First USA’s failure to place a
charge in dispute and failure to stop the recurrence of charges after
dispute and notice as provided in 12 CFR § 205.11. In a letter dated
September 27, 1997 I stated that I had been charged for an item I could
not identify. [xxxxxxxxxxxxx] I received my billing through March 9,
1998 and the monthly charge from that merchant is still being posted to
my account. I wrote originally in September, faxed a follow-up to Mr.
McMakin in November, wrote again to Mr. McMakin in December, and faxed a
follow-up in January when the charge appeared again. I had at least two
telephone conversations with Mr. McMakin. He was very courteous, but
not action was taken on my disputed items and they continued to add up
at approximately $10.00 per month plus compounded interest.
This letter is to formalize my demand for refund of all charges plus
interest on these charges. The charges should have been stopped upon my
original notice even if they were proper charges. Given the fact that
First USA has failed - (grievously) failed – in its responsibilities
under the regulation, all charges and interest should be refunded.
The violation of Regulation Z
First USA has charged me excessive finance charges and fee in violation
of the disclosure rules of 12 CFR § 226.5 General disclosure
requirements. The violation stems from a systemic condition at First
USA and was borne out by two members of the customer service staff –
Becky on 3-11-98 and Mr. Garcia on 3-17-98. Those individuals told me
that 10 days must be allowed for ‘mailing’ time on my payments. If the
payment is not processed prior to the Payment Due Date, a fee of $25.00
is assessed and the interest rate is increased to 22.99%.
The amount of the fee and the increase in the rate have been disclosed.
That fact is not at issue. The condition that is not disclosed is the
fact that payments are subject to a delay upon reaching First USA that
will cause the fee and interest adjustment to be invoked. Consider the
? Today March 17th, I received a bill a bill showing a closing date of
March 9th. That bill shows a Payment Due Date of April 3rd. That means
the payment must be mailed by March 20th. This means that the payment
must be mailed within three days of receipt. Given the fact that
residential mail is functionally received in the evening, I must be
prepared to mail the check no later than the second day after receipt.
Paying in advance does not provide an option because I made a payment of
$3,500 and a payment of $200 in the period ending February 9th. The
payment due on March 6th was mailed on March 3rd and you did not credit
it by the March 9th cutoff for the current statement. The payments are
addressed to a site in Atlanta. Mailing time from Orlando to Atlanta is
customarily two business days. This resulted in a late charge in the
bill that cut-off March 9th.
? A web site - http://22.214.171.124/~FUSA1/ - contains 60 examples of
cardholders who have been subjected to the same or similar abuses.
By copy of this letter, I am making a formal complaint to The Federal
Deposit Insurance Corporation which I believe is your regulating
agency. In addition, I am filing the complaint with the Federal Reserve
Board which has jurisdiction with your parent holding company under the
The issues relative to the violation of Regulation Z are systemic and
appear to be effecting consumers as a class. The handling of the issues
cited as violations of Regulation E are so blatant and continuous as to
give the appearance of being a systemic violation of that regulation.
I am, herewith, applying to you for the following:
(1) Refund of all charges related to the merchant drafts sited in the
section of Regulation E together with all interest on those charges.
(2) Refund of any and all late charges in the last twelve months on the
basis that the required 10 day period before the Payment Due Date was
never disclosed to cardholders but was so widely known within your
organization that your customer service personnel quoted it without
hesitation when I inquired about another matter.
(3) Refund of all increased interest charges based on the fact that the
delayed cited in #2 above automatically result in a payment history
record that triggers escalation of the interest rate.
Your immediate response to this letter will be appreciated:
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
Federal Reserve Board of Governors
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