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Seasons greetings from the credit card crooks

December 14, 2001 | Page 4

Dear Socialist Worker,

I got a holiday surprise from Capital One.

They gave me a credit card last year with a $300 limit, which I quickly maxed out paying off last winter's gas and electricity bills. I've been paying off the debt at a 22.9 percent interest rate ever since.

But this month, I was shocked to get a bill for $112! I called up to see if there was some mistake.

They said that I was three days late in paying the monthly installment (of $14), so they were tacking on a $25 fee. In addition, November was the one-year anniversary of my "partnership" with Capital One, so they were throwing in another $59 fee for "annual membership services." To top it all off, since these two fees put my balance over the $300 limit, the friendly folks at Capital One were sticking me with an additional $25 "over limit" fee.

So, when all was said and done, I owe $412 (on a $300 card).

I haven't been to church recently, but isn't there something in the Bible about going to hell for charging interest on interest? Maybe the financial theologians at Capital One think they've found a loophole by calling their racketeering "fees" instead of "usury."

I sure hope the devil is keeping a list and checking it twice.

Todd Chretien, Oakland, Calif.

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