No More Arbitration For Bank Of America
Okay, I still don’t like them. But I dislike them less after yesterday’s announcement that they’re dropping that sneaky rider that most of us didn’t know was contained within our credit cards that, instead of being allowed to sue them when we’re dissatisfied, we had to go to arbitration.
Truthfully, I didn’t know that either until many years ago when I had a dispute with one of the institutions that Bank of America eventually took over when, without any real notice, they threw a big increase of APR on my credit card, reduced my high balance amount, and said, in essence, I’d best not go over that amount or I’d face a big penalty. I paid that card off in 3 months and canceled it, with the guy on the phone trying to give me a new interest rate that was lower than what I’d had before. Nope, didn’t trust them. Anyway, when I was initially irritated I wondered how I could complain, and read about the arbitration deal at that time. How many of us actually read all those things?
Anyway, Bank of America is ending the practice, saying that they want to be more proactive in working with their customers towards their satisfaction. The cynic in me is wondering how much any of this has to do with the new government regulations that will be coming at the beginning of the year. Probably not much, since not all banks are saying they’re going this route.
However, there was another reason they might have decided to go this route, which might have involved the federal government at some point, as it’s already involved state governments. Two arbitration groups, the American Arbitration Association and the National Arbitration Forum, both stopped handling consumer arbitration cases, the second group as part of a settlement with Minnesota. It seems that banks won 94% of arbitration cases, which made both groups look like they were in bed with the banks; who’d have thunk it?
Thus far, two creditors are looking into whether they want to go the same direction as Bank of America. Both American Express and JP Morgan Chase are thinking about it. No other banks or creditors have stepped up to the plate as of yet.
Yes, I think this is a good move, and it goes a long way towards moving Bank of America off my list. By the way, two quick things to mention.
One, I got my first credit card solicitation in about 10 months yesterday, saying I had a pre-approved credit limit of $100,000. Will the flood start anew?
Two, American Express sent me notice about my Blue Card, saying they’re increasing my APR, but it’s a relatively low increase, and they’re eliminating overage fees, and also eliminating yearly participation fees, so I’m not going to bust on them as much as I did when they threw on a high balance amount on my business card, which I’m still bothered by.