Tag Archives: Christmas spending

Predatory Lending

I just couldn’t let this one slide by. After getting home from running some some errands I went down to the mail box and found a bill (the only paper bill we still get), from our only remaining credit account, Fingerhut. I think I will let you read the letter for yourself before I make any comments.

***** Begin Letter *****

Great News!
Your Credit Line has
been increased to

Limited Time Only
Customer Number: xxxxxxxxxx

Dear Xxxxxx Xxxxxx

Congratulations! You are being recognized with a well deserved Credit Line Increase on your Fingerhut Credit Account issued by MetaBank. This increase has been approved exclusively for you and is good for a limited time only:

Your new increase brings your Credit Limit up to $1,267.00 for use until January, 15, 2011. Your AVAILABLE CREDIT* is now $1,062.05.

Only select account holders like you qualify for this privilege.

Fingerhut reserves credit line increases like this to reward special customers like you, Xxxxxx Xxxxxx. It expands your buying power so you can get the things you want and need for you and your family. Use its convenience to shop the latest Fingerhut catalog – or order from the expanded product selection available online at fingerhut.com.

BONUS: The more increased credit you use, the more you keep.

You can make your credit line increase permanent! Just use the credit available on your account by January, 15, 2011, and your credit line will stay increased by the amount of your purchase(s) up to the Total Credit Limit listed above.

Take advantage of your new credit privilege now, Xxxxxx Xxxxxx. It’s your reward for being such a valued customer, so order today.

Best regards,
Brian Smith
Chairman, President and CEO

***** End Letter *****

On the surface you might be saying to yourself “Wow, what a nice company. A thousand dollar credit increase right before Christmas? Awesome!” Not on my Aunt Bippy’s bunions buddy! There is nothing awesome about this at all.

I have made it abundantly clear on numerous occasions via telephone that not only were we not going to buy merchandise from them any more, but that we would be closing our account as soon as it was paid off. I am reasonably sure that none of that has been added to any record the marketing and promotions people would see, if a human was even looking at any of this before it was sent out anyway. It just yanked my chain enough to post about it.

First off you get the butter-up about how special you are, then they tell you how much buying power they are giving you (at 24.9% APR of course.) The kicker here is the part about your ability to make the limit increase permanent. All you have to do is spend a thousand dollars on your account, the account you can’t afford as it is. How empowering of them! SCHMUCKS!

Fingerhut’s primary client base is below or near the poverty level. They pray on people with low incomes by sucking them in around the holidays every year. Exorcise your buying power and buy the things you and your family want. How magnanimous. This year’s you’re so special increase is considerably more than usual. I am not sure what that means overall, but it indicates that they are looking to accumulate a lot of customer debt. Did you catch the part where they are practically begging you to push your credit to the limit? That’s where they make most of their money you know, late and over-the-limit fees.

We are just about payed off on our Fingerhut card from Christmas last year. Credit experts say you shouldn’t be in debt for a whole year from the Christmas season. I recall hearing somewhere that you should be back to normal finances by the end of March. From a forecasting and budgeting perspective, you should be able to pay off all of the holiday debt using your income tax return. From a purely pragmatic point of view, you should be saving money and making purchases for the holidays throughout the year so there is no added holiday debt. I know it doesn’t really work out that way very often, but we are making an effort to that end result anyway.

I am hear to spread the Gospel of Pragmatism! Just say no to holiday credit increases! Live and buy within your means. Believe it or not, the more you stay within those means the sooner debt will decrease and you will see more disposable income and be a hell of a lot happier in the process.

I’m just saying…

*** Due to the overwhelming volume of SPAM commenting on this page comments have been turned off. Since there is a Captcha field to ensure that a real person is inputting comments, that means that there are a bunch of douchebags spamming my site. I do not appreciate the total and complete lack of class or netiquette the spammers have exhibited. ***