If you’ve ever transferred balances from one credit card to another and not paid them, you might have something new to worry about.

This past week, it was big news that many people who had transferred balances to Chase credit cards were suddenly being hit with not only higher fees, but higher monthly payments as well. In many cases, those payments more than doubled, which makes sense since the APR on those balances also more than doubled.

In a local case, and I live in the Syracuse, NY area, a woman’s payments jumped to $520 a month when previously she was paying $250, and her monthly payment on the outstanding balance she’d transferred years ago jumped from around 2% to 5%. In case you’re wondering, that’s a yearly jump of around 60%.

Turns out what Chase is doing isn’t illegal, just unethical. All banks are allowed to announce increases in APR and payments at any time, so long as they give you notice that they’re going to do it. This lady said she never got any notice, and Chase isn’t talking, so we’ll never know if that’s true or not.

On this one, I tend to believe the banks that say something was sent out. In a portion of my business background, we routinely would hear from people who said they had never received a bill when we’d send them to collection, yet we’d have the exact same address on our system as the collection agency had, and our system would show we’d sent out a least 4 bills. I think people get immune to certain types of mail and just don’t open them up; I’ve been guilty of that in my past also.

In this past year I’ve had one credit card company suddenly and another one jack up my interest rate. Both notified me a couple of months in advance to let me know it was coming. One I accepted, the other I canceled the card. I think the thing I’m lucky on is that I don’t have any cards open where I’ve transferred the balance from another card; man, how scary would that be.

It’s not fair, it’s unethical, but it seems to be the bank’s right to do it. Chase may only be the first, or, with the bad publicity, maybe we can make it the only one. I’m really glad I’ve never gotten a Chase card; I don’t trust anyone who sneaks something like this in on people they supposedly care about.