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Credit Craze
Credit card bills out of control? Perhaps you should spend less. Circumstances beyond your control forcing you deep in debt? Sit down with a financial planner – and your creditors – to work out a plan for paying your debts. There are a number of responsible strategies for managing credit, none of which involve foisting blame on financial institutions.

Instead of providing consumers with sound financial advice, the supposedly pro-consumer Consumers Union prefers to feed the public a diet of purported grievances against credit card companies supplemented by a cutesy animated video. In short, CU treats consumers as children.

Why should consumers behave responsibly when, in CU’s story, your credit problems are somebody else’s fault? According to CU, “too many credit cards are designed to get you in debt and keep you there.” The dastardly deeds perpetrated by some companies include late fees and penalty interest rates as well as raising the interest rates for consumers with poor credit ratings. CU has a one-size-fits-all prescription for what ails consumers, legislation “to rein in abusive credit card practices....”

There are many reasons why some consumers have more debt than they can handle including illness, job loss and, in some cases, irresponsible spending. What all of these reasons have in common is that they require a mature, considered response by the affected consumers – not Congress.

Even consumers who have no debt difficulties need to carefully evaluate their credit options. In other words, before signing a contract for a credit card, read all of the terms carefully. Compare different offers to see which best fits your needs. If there are terms you don’t understand, ask and learn so you can be a well informed consumer. The Federal Trade Commission has a consumer credit website that provides extensive information. Unlike CU, the FTC is actually interested helping consumers.

See Consumer Union “It’s Always Christmas Time” For Credit Card Companies” press release

See Federal Trade Commission consumer information website

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