Beware the Ever-Changing Fine Print

By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD

I once received a 17-page booklet from my credit card provider covering their revised “customer agreement.”  They mailed it under the guise of good customer service, but I’m sure that buried somewhere inside is a policy change that will effect me. 

However, I don’t have the time or interest to read all 17 pages to figure out what it is.  Even if they highlighted the section, there is often so much double talk, qualifying statements, and caveats, that I would likely not fully grasp what they are changing.

I just hope that the change is not too onerous or detrimental to me.  One thing I can be quite sure of is that with the current credit situation, depressed economy, and increased oversight, that the changes will not be in my favor.

A few months ago, my local credit union sent me a notice of new fees.  This seemingly happens every few months, so I gave it little thought, especially since I do not incur fees on my account — well I didn’t use to incur fees.

They changed one number; however, that was the “gotcha.”  They doubled the minimum balance required to have free checking.  Although I have many times that amount in CDs, they dinged me for a monthly service fee anyway.

To make matters worse they managed to bill it twice on the same statement, one for the current month and one for the prior month.

They did eventually refund the charges “this one time.”  I don’t plan on there being a second time.  When my CD comes due this fall, I’ll close my account, moving it to my other credit union that doesn’t play those types of games.

I hoped I won’t be forced into doing the same thing with my credit card.

Read more in Peter Lyle DeHaan’s Sticky Series books, including Sticky Customer ServiceSticky Sales and Marketing, and Sticky Leadership and Management featuring his compelling story-driven insights and tips.

Peter Lyle DeHaan is an entrepreneur and businessman who has managed, owned, and started multiple businesses over his career. Common themes at every turn have included customer service, sales and marketing, and leadership and management.

He shares his lifetime of business experience and personal insights through his books to encourage, inspire, and occasionally entertain.

By Peter Lyle DeHaan

Author Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, publishes books about business, customer service, the call center industry, and business and writing.

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