GE Money rips off the elderly

Since January I have spent hours helping a neighbor whose attempts to pay his creditor, GE Money (doing business as CareCredit), were all being headed off. Whether he used the website or the telephone, he was unable to complete the transaction, and was in danger of expensive penalties. Reaching a customer service rep required unusual persistence, and once he did so, the employees were consistently unhelpful, besides being alternately hostile and contemptuous.

After research, I formed the following hypothesis:

GE Money Bank formed CareCredit, and tricked it out to look like a nonprofit, in order to mislead elderly, inexperienced, or otherwise vulnerable customers into signing up for a credit card that is easy to acquire but difficult to make timely payments on. This results in crippling penalties and interest on what is touted as an “interest-free” credit option. Instead of helping customers pay their health-care bills, CareCredit is more likely to punish customers with extra expenses.

As the president and congressional leaders meet today on financial regulation, I offer this story as evidence of which direction we need to be going now. It is not in our national interest to allow banks to take customers for everything they can get, while “denying any wrongdoing.” We need an independent financial consumer protection agency with the power to intervene in the interest of consumers. Continue reading “GE Money rips off the elderly”

Telephone spam

Over the past two months I have been getting harassing phone calls from a machine. The recording always features the same woman’s voice offering a vaguely described financial service that is “about to expire.” The Caller ID number, it turns out, never tells me where the call really originated; instead they use some number that […]

It’s tax rip-off season

From research by the National Consumer Law Center, a private, non-profit advocacy group in Boston: About 60 percent of taxpayers hire someone to do their income taxes. But tax preparers often make mistakes or give bad advice. Anyone can open a tax-prep service. No special knowledge is required, and only three states require licenses (California, […]