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Orange County Debt Settlement Lawyers on the Proposed 'Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights'

May 1, 2009

Congress is considering legislation aimed at curbing abusive behavior by credit card companies, the New York Daily News reported April 23. The legislation is backed by President Obama, who met with credit card companies that day to ask for their cooperation in reforming anti-consumer practices, simplifying the information offered to consumers and establishing tighter regulation. The president said he wants credit card companies to be profitable without engaging in practices he believes are abusive. Meanwhile, both houses of Congress are considering a bill that would address some of those goals as a "Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights."

The Daily News ran a separate article summarizing the proposed new laws. Its provisions address recent practices by credit card companies that have stirred up widespread consumer anger, including arbitrary increases in interest rates and lowering of credit limits for clients who haven't missed any payments or gone over limits, simply because the card companies' risks are greater in a bad economy. The Senate version would: • Prohibit credit card companies from applying an interest rate hike to an existing balance • Increase the required notice of an interest rate hike from 15 days to 45 days • Let consumers set their own credit limits and stop them from charging fees when customers exceed that limit • End "double cycle" billing, in which companies charge late fees for on-time payments by applying the payment to a new billing cycle • Prohibit intentional credit card offers to minors who are not emancipated • Prohibit adding the high fees on "subprime" cards to the balances on those cards • Establish standard definitions of common terms to prevent misleading advertising

As Chino Hills debt settlement attorneys, we hope this passes in a meaningful form. As things currently stand, credit card companies are permitted to do anything they want to customers' cards, as long as they give 15 days' notice before changing interest rates. Because credit scores depend on the customers' amounts of available credit, many of the practices mentioned above have a substantial negative effect on customers' credit. Good customers are penalized for a bad economy, or the irresponsible behavior of people who live and shop near them. Meanwhile, substantial changes to credit limits and interest rates can put people with higher balances into uncontrollable debt, taking away the hope that they can pay it off alone.

At Howard Law LLP, we work every day with people who feel overwhelmed by their debts, including credit card debts as well as medical bills and other forms of debt. Our Placentia debt settlement attorneys know that creditors would rather get some payment than nothing at all, which is what they can expect if they push our clients into bankruptcy. We use that knowledge to negotiate with creditors to discharge your debt completely, in exchange for a lump-sum payment. We can also help clients sue over unfair practices that violate the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

If you need help controlling ballooning debt, from a credit card or any other source, you should speak to Howard Law's Corona debt settlement attorneys as soon as possible. To set up a free, confidential consultation, please contact us online or call us toll-free today at 1-800-872-5925.