No wonder they’re all going bankrupt.

I knew it was only a matter of time before the financial clusterfuck of the century would affect me. Last week I received a letter from Citibank stating that the APR on my Citi Mastercard would rise from 7.99% to 19.99% effective immediately.

The first thing that came to mind was: WTF??!!? If they were to jack up the rates to maybe 9.99% or even 10.99%, whatever, that’s understandable. But to raise them by twelve freakin’ points??? What are they thinking? Did I miss a payment or something? Am I over my limit? Nope.. none of the above… this is nothing more than highway robbery.

To clarify, I absolutely hate credit cards, and believe that they are the cause of much of the trouble modern society has experienced over the last 20 years. People live way beyond their means, and cheap and easy credit facilitates this facade. The current economic crisis is simply the pimple coming to a head, caused by people spending more than they make and kicking the can down the road. Out of sight, out of mind. I rarely use my credit card, mostly when using it makes the purchasing process easy — like for plane tickets or hotel rooms or online purchases. I’ve always payed off my balance right away, and very rarely carry a balance. I’ve worked hard to establish a great credit score and am what I consider would be an ‘ideal’ customer to any credit card company. I refuse to be a slave to a creditor… I don’t like to be owned by anybody.

Anyway, I knew what this letter was all about and why my rates were being jacked up, but I wanted to call and hear straight from the horses mouth. The nice customer service lady verified what I already knew: because of the increasing number of defaults of their customers, the card companies are having to raise rates and lower limits to the rest of their customers in order to offset their losses. This is regardless of the quality of those customers. I asked her if there was any way for me to keep my current rate, seeing how I’ve never been late making a payment and have been a customer of theirs for over 10 years. She replied by saying, “unfortunately, this is a financial decision that has been made by management and I am unable to reverse it.” I retorted, “can you please inform your management that punishing your good customers because of the actions of your bad customers is going to cause you to lose all of your good customers.” She replied that they have been keeping track of the complaints and will act accordingly, whatever that means. Apparently they’ve been getting a lot of angry calls from customers about this.

Can someone please answer this for me: in what business, any business, if you were to penalize your best customers, would you be able to stay in business? If you owned a bar, and someone skipped out on their tab, would you turn around and ask your regular bar patrons to pay more for their drinks? No, because if you did, they would no longer be regulars. Say goodbye to your bar.

At the end of the day, I don’t really care. I pay off my balance right away, so the APR doesn’t affect me, but it’s the principle of the matter that pisses me off. These companies make billions, yet they can’t even afford to hire some mathematicians to come up with an algorithm that determines which customers to punish and which to reward. Decisions like this make me say: no wonder they’re all going bankrupt.

Let them fail. Citibank lost a good customer today. The free market has spoken!