Friday, March 20, 2009

Another Debt-Reduction Scam, Ripped Straight from Today's Headlines

"Do you carry balances of $10,000, $12,000, even $15,000 or more on your credit cards? This is the perfect time to reduce or even eliminate your debt!"

What makes this the perfect time? "The Credit Card companies have just received $45 billion in bailout money from the government, and they must clear their books, once and for all." Wow, so CapitalOne wants to liquidate it's accounts, which makes it eager to settle my debt for pennies on the dollar, right? Right? And it's all because of "The Obama Bailout program" (yes, the President's name is actually used in the commercial) right? Right?

Um, hardly. This commercial doesn't even make a weak attempt at the truth. These scammers take something in the news that everyone has been hearing about but no one really understands and tries to use it to dupe the listener out of his money, and it's beyond shameful. Bank Of America provides credit to millions of people in the form of credit cards and debt-consolidation loans. Bank Of America is in the process of receiving Bailout money. This cash infusion from the US Government (courtesy of the taxpayers, some of whom are Bank of America customers, of course) does not mean that BOA is closing and wants to liquidate your debt for whatever it can get. There is nothing in the bailout agreement that requires BOA, or any other Credit Card Company, to "clear their books, once and for all"- absolutely NOTHING.

In fact, if the listener would just use his brain for a moment, he'd realize that forgiving debt for pennies on the dollar is the last thing that credit card companies need to do if they want to re-establish solvency. This commercial makes it sound as if BOA, etc. are basically larger relatives of that carpet store down the street which is desperately trying to liquidate it's inventory before it's lease expires. I'd like to be on the line when a customer calls BOA and "offers" to pay off 1/10 of his debt, "take it or leave it."

It's your debt. You took it on. No government program is going to force the credit card companies to forgive it. And all any Credit Card Counseling "service" that tells you otherwise is LYING.

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