Debtors Revolt (Ann vs. Bank of America)

Ann is a 46-year-old mother and mental-health professional and self described “conservative liberal, or liberal conservative, closet science nerd, shoe-addict, and beauty product-junkie.” She says she’s met her  credit card balance limits and paid routinely, but that didn’t stop Bank of America from jacking up her interest rate to a whooping 30%.

So she took her story to YouTube in a video titled “Debtors Revolt Begins Now,” and it’s the highest-rated video of the week in YouTube’s “non-profit, activism” category. 140,000 people have watched her story, and the video received more than 1,700 positive & controversial comments, and was rated nearly 2,000 times (averaging a 4.73 out of 5).  In a follow-up September 11 video, she reacts to the viral response to her video, crediting her viewers and God.

She’s calling it civil disobedience, and many of her video replies indicate people are joining her cause. Dozens of blogs are linking to her video:

Dozens of websites & blogs link to the "Debtors Revolt"
Dozens of websites & blogs link to the "Debtors Revolt"
  • The Market Ticker’s Karl Denninger said “She’s spot-on, in my opinion, and if you, through no fault of your own (you’re NOT a deadbeat) have had this happen to you, then I fully support doing exactly what she is – tell ’em to get stuffed. Do realize that civil disobedience has consequences, but it also brings a huge breath of fresh air into your life!”
  • Of course comments vary, including this one posted an hour ago: “Debtors revolt? Are you f’ing kidding me? Is this a parody? You invoke the founding fathers’ ideals and in the same breath bitch about credit usage? Seriously? Don’t want high interest rates? DON’T F’ING USE CREDIT. You don’t have a fundamental right to low interest rates or easy access to credit. You made your bed; lie in it. Enjoy the shitty credit” (by dontfrostthepie).”
  • The majority of the comments are supportive, like this one thevickithomas“Congratulations for taking a stand on the outrageous fees charged by bank run credit card companies. I share the same feelings about my closed Chase card. I join with you and others who are willing to stand up to the inept bank ceo leaders that have not be held accountable for their failed actions. One day they will regret how they have treated customers — when they suddenly realize they need us.”

My two cents? A good reminder that one poorly treated customer can rock a corporation, and it’s somewhat comforting to know that banking has replaced  pharmaceuticals for most-despised among Americans. I never much cared for banks.

18 Replies to “Debtors Revolt (Ann vs. Bank of America)”

  1. Ten or twenty years ago, I had a credit card with B of A. Classic bait-and-switch, attractive terms to open the account, followed by changes to account terms in no way related to my credit activity.

    When I called to close the account and they asked why, I just said “I don’t like your company.”

    Only difference between me and Ann here was, I didn’t put it on YouTube. (YouTube didn’t exist then.)

  2. I’m all about this BECAUSE she was a good customer that fulfilled her end of the bargain. If she was a deadbeat, I would seriously be pissed from hearing the exact same message.

  3. While I generally support comments made from people like dontfrostthepie, in this case it doesn’t really apply. She isn’t forcing anything on anyone. This is simply a contract dispute between her and her credit card company. She has to right to do what she is doing and face whatever consequences may come her way.

    I’m won’t be joining the revolt. It isn’t right for me to stop paying my credit card because I have knowingly agreed to the terms. I’m sure she did too, but she’s just disappointed with how the terms have played out. We as consumers know that credit card companies can and will increase the rates for the most obscure reason. It’s in the contract. With that said, I think there needs to be regulation against this action. In fact, I don’t think previous balances should be subjected to rate changes. I’m unsure if they are now.

    The real revolt will be for consumers to stop using credit cards, at least ones offered by these big banks. These big banks have a double standard. When they are doing poorly, they take money from the taxpayer. When the taxpayer is doing poorly, they take money from the taxpayer. Maybe their practices are uniform after all. Of course, it might be more effective to default on your loans, but consumers aren’t going to jump on that train en masse.

  4. I agree, Zack. We shouldn’t even be using them in the first place. The only problem I see is that people always need an upsetting/angering event to get things moving. Unfortunatley, conflict is all that truly motivates people if they are comfortable.

    Their rates don’t really matter to me, though. I’m gaming them for rewards points by paying everything off every week. I don’t pay interest.

    I love having $250 free at Best Buy from time to time for no reason. Or flying for free from time to time without having a frequent flyer number. Which I should probably have anyway.

  5. What the hell’s going on here? What’s with these “winners” leaving comments? I like the whiners better.

  6. I think credit cards certainly have their place. I use mine mainly for convenience, since I hate carrying wads of cash or writing checks. (I pay the balance in full every month.)

    Sometimes you can work things out just by calling and talking to a customer service representative. A few months ago Everbank decided that they would raise the minimum balance to not charge service fees to $10,000. After a call to the company, it was lowered to the previous minimum balance of $2500.

    The company usually prefers to work with you than to lose a customer (but not always).

    Oh, and speaking of one poorly treated customer rocking a corporation, have you guys seen United Breaks Guitars?

  7. I just sat through 3 hours of macroeconomics last night and 10 hours of sociology this weekend where the topic was Socialism vs. Capitalism. Does anyone have a razor blade because I’m about ready to slit my wrists.

  8. Oh and I can’t leave out biology which I happen to detest the most out of all my classes. In biology I’m learning about cells and blood types so slitting my wrists may count as lab credits.

  9. @10 What is the difference? I’m not familiar with those terms.

    @9 NutCheese, I’m curious what your major is in school (or if you haven’t declared one yet, what it will be). I’m imagining something like scatology.

  10. The answer to America’s credit problems is quite simple: Don’t spend more money than you have. I use credit cards rarely, and pay the balance in full each month. I don’t run out and buy every new gadget that comes out and I don’t spend to make myself feel better. I buy only what I need when I need it and can afford it.

    I am sure the rate increase would not have been a surprise if she read the little inserts that come with her bill every month. I actually don’t know anyone who DOES read them, but still, by using the card she agreed to their terms.

    Having said all of that, I do feel she got screwed by her credit card company.

  11. @12 Exactly! A big part of the economic troubles we’re in comes from people buying what they can’t afford. Even as a “poor graduate student”, I tend to spend significantly less than I can afford. (It helps that I don’t have a car.)

    To buy something like a house, it’s difficult not to go into some debt, but it is probably unwise to take out a loan that will take 30 years to pay off.

    Personal responsibility aside, yes, those credit card rates are usurious.

  12. Speaking of buying a house, maybe NutCheese can answer this:

    How the hell do people afford to buy in San Fran? Loans longer than 30 years? No down payment? How is it done?

  13. I live in the ghetto. I’m not buying anything.

    You too can rent a one bedroom apartment in my ghetto for the special going rate of only $2600 a month!

  14. Oh shut up all you people who have jobs and positive balances in your bank accounts and stuff. We losers have to have something to cpmplain about. I’m getting hosed by overdraft protection charges. Man, that disability thing better come through fast or I’m gonna end up in the pokey.

  15. Time to start looking at interest rates and bank fees as a tax since the banks own the place anyway what else can you call it, but a tax on the working class

    Only you don’t get any services or R&D or benefits, all you get to do is put more of your hard work and savings in the pockets of the already socialist wealthy elite who see you merely as a means to an end, a statistic, part of a profit margin, but never ever as an American or a human being.

    They want you to work, fight and die for them so they can throw little bits of paper at you. Their goal is to create the New General Store – a scheme imposed on Native Americans in the 1800s – forever in debt at twice the cost. a.k.a. indentured servitude.

    As the saying goes, the most dangerous man is the man who has nothing to lose.

    We’re getting closer and closer to picking sides.
    I know what side I’ll be picking.

    Allons enfants de la patrie, le jour de gloire est arrive!

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