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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Help Me I'm Reading and I Can't Get Up

I got a letter yesterday from a credit card company telling me of the changes in my "Credit Card Agreement." First, the letter provided a summary of the three changes. I assumed the intent was to use simpler language than the legalese used in the actual agreement. That way they could help me understand what the changes are. Very nice of them I thought. I do a lot of that same sort of thing for health consumers. That is I assumed it until I read the first summary. It felt like I was swimming in a tub of molasses:
Annual Percentage Rate for Variable Rate Accounts
The index for your account is changing from the Prime Rate. The new index will be the highest three month LIBOR (London Interbank Offer Rate) published in the northeastern edition of The Wall Street Journal in its Money Rates table at any time within the immediately preceding three months, including the month in which the index was determined, rounded up to the nearest one-quarter of a percentage point. As of July 1, 2009, your Margin would be the number of percentage points plus the index which would give you the same APR you now have on Purchases and Balance Transfers. This change is effective on the first day of your billing cycle that begins in April 2010.

They don't really want me to understand what they're doing, do they?


  1. You are SO right!
    Bad writing with a purpose; of course thinking this way makes us socialists! Aloha ha ha

    Comfort Spiral

  2. I haven't a clue either. I know our fixed rate credit card from Bank of America is going to a variable rate. No more fixed rates.

    When you have a bunch of lawyers write something it's very difficult to figure out what they said. I'm hoping you don't have any surprises.

    Have a terrific day. :)

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  4. Ah, the ol' London Interbank... I still remember getting drunk with those bastards...

  5. I knew someone did, KMcJ. I was too busy looking up the meaning of Margin.

  6. Aloha, Cloudia. It had a purpose all right. I don't think, though, they will become socialists with us.

    I expect a surprise, Sandee. And when I was a teacher of writing and would go to a cocktail party where people asked what I do, the lawyers were always the first to say lawyers needed to learn how to write. But I think Cloudia is right. Lawyers write that way for a purpose. And it is imitated by financial people. They don't know why. They just think it sounds smart.

    You have no idea how sticky, Willow. I read the rest of the letter. It's a miracle I'm still here.

  7. It's funny how something legal sounds so shady...nick

  8. You lost me at "the index for your account." ha!

    Last time I got a letter like that, they DOUBLED my interest rate...c'est la vie

  9. Well is either that, the fact that they are really dumb, the fact that they have contradictory orders from above, the fact that they do not have someone who knows how to properly write or even that they made a mistake. Don t you have laws in the states that protect you from having this kind of things happen to you? you should ask, cause I think you probabbly do. That is why I doubt they do it on purpose.