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Consumers note unfair treatment when repaying credit card debt

Recent reports indicate that consumers have a knack for remembering incidents when they are treated unfairly by their credit card company. This sentiment is particularly pronounced when compared against reactions to other companies, such as health insurance companies or grocers. One reason for this attitude may be that consumers in Texas, and across the country, are feverishly attempting to pay down the overwhelming debt that many have accumulated through credit card usage.

Based on a March 2012 report from the Federal Reserve, U.S. consumer revolving debt, mainly credit card debt, dropped below $800 billion to $798.6 billion. This 3.3 percent dip from the previous month is the second-lowest debt reading since October 2004. January and February of this year similarly saw declines in overwhelming debt tied to credit card usage, compared to 2011's month-to-month increase of revolving debt.

Nationwide consumer credit card debt has dropped more than $150 billion since 2008. However, a new study has reported that credit card users are angry about all the debt and the manner in which they have been treated by credit card companies. One study, which measures consumer's propensity to forgive various industries, concluded that the credit card sector is the least likely to be forgiven by consumers. The study examined 18 different industries and 206 companies.

The study determined that insurance companies, investment firms, banks, and fast food companies all ranked significantly higher than credit card companies as far as forgiveness for past actions. Credit card companies failed on three different metrics: functional, accessible, and emotional. Complaints by customers identified "shadowy and onerous rate modifications," as reasons for their hard feelings.

Overwhelming debt continues to plague people in Texas and elsewhere. Some have figured out ways to confront their debt, as evidenced by the findings that, overall, credit card debt has declined. Yet others are not sure what to do and feel stuck in an endless cycle of ever-increasing bills and obligations. Some may benefit by seeking bankruptcy protection to either eliminate debt altogether or propose a plan under the court's supervision for repayment of one's obligations over a stipulated period of time.

Source: MainStreet, "Consumers Have Long Memories, Short Fuses With Credit Card Companies," Brian O'Connell, April 25, 2012

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