Why I will not apply for this credit card
October 16, 2006 1 Comment
Sure looks great…almost an offer you couldn’t refuse.
Lurking below the surface, however, are sharks circling in the fine print.
It’s an Advanta credit card offer. I got one of these a few weeks back, shared it (in near disbelief) with my wife, then threw it away. A move I regretted, since that was before launching this blog, but not to fear…they came through again today!
Enticing fixed APR for balance transfers. 6% cash back. No annual fee. Zero fraud liability. Et cetera, et cetera.
Now, the switch. Talk about audacity – you can’t make this stuff up. I quote exactly:
“All of the terms of your account (including rates) are subject to change by us. This means that your account rates, including any introductory or promotional rates offered, are not guaranteed; all account rates may be increased, fixed rates may change to variable rates, and variable rates may change to fixed rates. We may change your account terms (including rates) at any time for any reason.“
Hmmm, let’s see – by applying for this card, I give you the right to do whatever you want, whenever you want, for whatever reason you want. Whatever you’re saying is offered, you don’t necessarily mean, and I can’t actually have any idea what I may be agreeing to, as it can be changed arbitrarily at any time.
Tough decision . . . but I think I’ll pass on this one!
Can you imagine this approach being taken in other important situations?
“This 30-year mortgage at a fixed rate of 7.5% may become a 20 (or 50) year mortgage at any rate we may choose at the moment, and you can’t do anything about it.”
“Yes, we will hire you at $80,000/year, with full benefits, except you may actually end up having to pay your own benefits at some undefined point, and your salary may fluctuate month to month depending on undetermined variables that will be disclosed, or not, at our sole discretion.”
“…to have and to hold from this day forward, with the proviso that I may change my mind at any time, and this covenant may become a temporary agreement, for any reason or whim…” (hmmm – that may be getting too close to the truth in some cases).
Effective branding is about providing value. It’s about promises. It’s about trust. Because of regulatory requirements, these Advanta folks at least spelled it out plainly. And plainly, their brand value goes to zero.
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