Was offered an account at the vet's office in the middle of the night: emergency treatment for the dog. Had left my check book and major credit card at home in the rush of getting the animal to the hospital at 4AM before she died. I have an excellent credit rating so getting immediate approval was not a problem.
I charged the initial vet fee to the account in the middle of the night because that's what's necessary for the vets to treat the animal. And I paid the balance owed the next day with a personal check.
Before the GE Money credit card even came in the mail with the MANDATORY DISCLOSURE information federal law requires, the bill came. With a $35.00 charge for a late fee! When the bill came, I didn't even know what the interest rate was much less the late fee charges!
Without the MANDATORY DISCLOSURE information in compliance with federal law, the consumer has no idea what the charges for interest and penalities may be. Which is why companies offering credit have to DISCLOSE all of that to the consumer at the time credit is offered. No such information is available at the vet's office and none came BEFORE the first bill.
I have closed the account -- who wants to do business with a finance company which cannot comply with federal law? And before I closed it, I paid all of the actual charges for the one vet visit. But I didn't pay the initial late fee charged before the MANDATORY DISCLOSURE was provided to me.
And because I didn't pay the initial late fee -- and I called GE Money and told the rep why I wasn't paying that -- then another late fee was added to the first one!
GE Money reps are calling me now demanding the balance of what's charged on the account. And what's left on the account is $151.00. Which just happens to be the same amount as what's reported in the 2011 Totals Yeat-to-Date as "Total Fees Charged in 2011." In other words: the amount of the single purchase was paid, there were no interest charges and all that's left on the account are multiple late fees for refusing to pay late fees chaged without the MANDATORY DISCLOSURE.
An initial late fee charged in violation of federal law, followed by several more charged after the total of the purchases charged was paid is what's left on the account. And when the GE Money people call, they are vicious. Just vicious. Refuse to listen to what the consumer says even though they eventually are forced to agree that what the consumer says is what the law requires. Doesn't matter. And don't ask for a supervisor to get on the phone: from dealing with serveral reps, it sounds like there are no supervisors because one is never available or can't call back or can't come to the phone or is on lunch break. Ninety-six reasons are given why the consumer can't speak to a supervisor to sort out a problem.
I asked the last rep I spoke to on the phone whether the account had been reported to credit bureaus as delinquent or late. Rep refused to answer that question although she certainly knew the answer. Keeping information from the consumer does nothing positive to sort out problems. Just bad business.
Right now, I'm sending the whole mess about this account to the state concumer commission for investigation. And if I find out that there's a negative report from GE Money on my credit history for late payments after GE Money violated federal law, I'll send the matter on to federal banking authorities as well. It is absolutely a violation of federal law to impose interest charges or penalities of any kind in a consumer credit situation UNLESS and UNTIL the consumer is given the MANDATORY DISCLOSURE information which applies to any credit account.
My advice to anyone else: don't use GE Money or GE Capital Retail Bank or whatever they have changed the name to this week. It changes all the time and perhaps it has to be changed because there are so many public complaints!
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