Submitted by Rachel R on Thu, 01/23/2014 - 6:55pm
New report reveals which credit card companies give consumers the most grief
Image source: Philip Taylor PT via Flickr Creative Commons
For those households with credit cards, the average debt is $15,000. Some families have zero credit card balance and some have huge five figure debt that skews this average. For most consumers that end up filing bankruptcy, they have roughly $11,000 in credit card debt. This debt can amass quickly and be difficult to defeat especially when card issuers can raise rates astronomically if you miss even one payment.
You may not know exactly how much latitude your credit card company has to charge you fees and change the terms of your financing arrangement because you likely never bothered to read the multi-page terms and conditions notice provided when they issue your card that's printed in a font you'd need an electron microscope to read...
A recent report on credit card complaints and abuses issued by the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) looked state by state at consumer dissatisfaction with credit cards and, for North Carolina consumers, Capital One is considered the worst. The CFPB was established in 2011 to protect consumers from abusive lenders and creditors and fields more than 1,200 complaints about credit card companies each month.
Credit card complaints make up 17% of all complaints the CFPB receives each year. The nature of most complaints are billing disputes followed by interest rates, identity theft and errors on credit reports. Not only was Capital One the most complained about creditor in North Carolina, it was the most complained about creditor in the whole country and was the subject of more than 5,200 consumer complaints last year.
Capital One topped the list in North Carolina for most complained about credit card
Image source: Skibler via Flickr Creative Commons
Of those that complain, 29% receive some sort of refund or discount as part of the resolution. Disputes over billing and interest rates were most likely to receive monetary relief as a result of the complaint. The CFPB received 694 credit card complaints from North Carolina consumers last year which translates to a little more than seven per 100,000 people.
If you get in over your head with credit cards, it's never a good idea to take a head in the sand approach. Talking to your creditor is an important first step. If you let them know you are having problems meeting your commitments, they may work with you. Ultimately, it won't do any harm to keep them in the loop with what's going on with you – if you're unemployed or have had an accident or are dealing with a medical problem.
A few hundred dollars of overdue credit card debt isn't a financial crisis even if it feels like one. However, if you are behind on all your bills and can't see a way to recovering without some sort of intervention on your behalf, it may be time to consider Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy. With a Chapter 13, you work up a repayment plan to pay off your debts over a specific time period and remaining balances of some of your unsecured debts would be discharged at the end of your plan period.
With Chapter 7, if you qualify, your unsecured debts should all be discharged unless they relate to alimony or child support. If you owe back taxes and student loans, some relief is possible depending on your individual circumstances. Contact a reputable North Carolina bankruptcy attorney like John T Orcutt for more information. Schedule a free consultation today to discuss your debt circumstances and the best solutions to help you.
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